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Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Spill Laughs

Watching the coverage of Tony Hayward (BP CEO) in front of a House subcommittee the other day made me crack up. It's easy to see who in Congress has no clue about how the "real world" works whenever they question a corporate executive.

First off, the folks in DC should be happy Hayward showed up. Only PR outweighs legal concerns; and when a government says they are conducting a criminal investigation normally (ask Bill Clinton) you don't answer questions to the folks doing the investigating.

The shock and outrage over the fact that a CEO didn't know what type of cement or steel lining sleeve was used on one of hundreds of wells being drilled doesn't show an out of touch CEO; it shows an unknowable group of questioners.

The truth is, CEO's can't know, and shouldn't know, every minor step going on with every project their company is running. That isn't what they are supposed to do, and if they are that involved in the minutia of daily operations, they are probably failing at their bigger job of actually running the corporation.

The other laugh is the e-mails; or more accurately, the portions congress has seen fit to release to paint BP in a worse light.

I would be dollars to donuts that the head of my department doesn't know that I worked on a machine for the last couple of weeks that I've labeled a nightmare (as was the deep water horizon well); a hermaphroditic bastard step child, and many other unprintable names. My department head is only about 2 steps above me. If he doesn't know that, why would the CEO? The truth is the machine was all of those things, and I was still confident that I would get it working, there was no reason to go above my manager with that information.

Go find anyone who works on one of a kind things; which each drill operation like that is; and they'll tell you such euphemisms are used regularly. And most of the time not reported to the guys at the top of the food chain. Engineers and workers vent all the time, and the boss doesn't need to hear it.

Does all this mean I think BP or Hayward is blameless, no not at all. BP cut corners, and should face some stiff fines from it. Their safety practices on this and other jobs does need to be looked into. But Congressional grillings only meant to sensationalize the whole incident are no more helpful than the Presidents group of smart people who have yet to come up with an idea on how to fix this.

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Blogger Lone Pony said...

It is so refreshing to read your common sense statements. It gives some hope after the nightmare of watching our out of touch representatives. Now, do something to get them out of office.

7:32 AM  

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