Thursday, May 3, 2012

NOAA Had Planned to Hire a Magician For Leadership Conference; Now Wishes Ad Would Fall Down the Memory Hole

Bless their extravagant yet shameable hearts.
From Politico Pro:

NOAA makes magic ad disappear
A magician is shown. | Reuters
NOAA had advertised for a speaker on the 'magic of change.' | Reuters
You don’t need a mind reader to know that hiring a magician for your government conference may not be a great idea right now.

But that’s what NOAA had planned before it pulled an advertisement for a speaker on the “magic of change” for an upcoming confab in Silver Spring, Md.

The agency wanted a motivational speaker to create “a unique model of translating magic and [principles] of the psychology of magic, magic tools, techniques, and experiences into a method of teaching leadership,” according to the ad, which appeared Tuesday.

NOAA took down the ad, however, after media reports surfaced Thursday.

The agency “has referred the solicitation to the General Counsel and NOAA's Chief of Resources, Operations and Management to review the statement of work and the process surrounding the solicitation,” NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen emailed POLITICO.

“No speakers have been hired or confirmed for this training session,” he added.
NOAA isn’t flying its staff to a pricey Las Vegas hotel, and it said it needed a magician for training purposes, not entertainment. Still, spending taxpayers’ money on prestidigitation risks conjuring up comparisons with the General Services Administration’s infamous Vegas adventure.

GSA came under heavy fire last month for spending $823,000 on a 2010 Las Vegas convention that included a magician, mind reader and commemorative coins. Administrator Martha Johnson stepped down over the episode, which gave Republicans ammunition for attacks blaming President Barack Obama.
A NOAA employee declined to comment when POLITICO contacted her Thursday....MORE
The version of the story at Government Executive reads like parody that could put Swift (Jonathan not Taylor) or Mel Brooks to shame.

We like NOAA for many reasons but they have to watch that hubris thing.
NOAA used to end their press releases with:
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.
That was throttled back last year:
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook , Twitter and our other social media channels.
I'm waiting for the revised, post-magician, iteration.