National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

NOAA has long championed science as the foundation upon which the health of our nation's fish stocks must be based. But last week, it appeared that NOAA believed that a little magic would be helpful to help motivate employees at an upcoming leadership training session.



According to the Washington Post, NOAA had placed a $5,000 solicitation on the FedBizOpps.gov website on Wednesday. It sought someone who would create a "unique model of translating magic and principals of the psychology of magic, magic tool, techniques and experiences into a method of teaching leadership," during a one-day session for 45 employees, part of three-day conference for mid-level managers in June at NOAA's Silver Spring, Md., headquarters.



But news media criticism prompted NOAA to withdraw the ad on Thursday, the paper says. Critics panned the idea of hiring a magician for the training session just weeks after hiring of a mind reader for a 2010 conference came to symbolize a General Services Administration spending scandal that caused heads there to roll.



Now industry members chafing under the groundfish sector management program might say they understand NOAA's fascination with magic tricks. They believe the agency would like to make the region's small-boat fishermen disappear.



The Post notes that the $3,200 the GSA spent to hire a mind reader/motivational speaker was among the transgressions in an $823,0000 spending scandal for a 2010 conference in Las Vegas that cost the GSA its director and more than a dozen managers.



No doubt the GSA enjoyed performing magic tricks, too —it liked to make taxpayer dollars disappear. But the problem with magic tricks is that eventually, somebody pulls back the curtain and figures out what's really happening.

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