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View Diary: Sebelius takes responsibility for problems, weathers Republican attacks (124 comments)

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  •  "hold me accountable," how? (0+ / 0-)

    for most of us we get fired, demoted.

    She should resign. Used to be regular occurence when a government department screwed up or oversaw any sort of "debacle."  

    Now, it's just, at best,  "my bad" let's move on. Hold me accountable, just don't take any action.

    •  She can't resign (12+ / 0-)

      If she does, the GOP in the Senate will block her replacement until next November at least, therefore guaranteeing the failure of the ACA before it begins. (This needs to be known) So, the only, and best thing that she can do now is to make sure that the law works as smoothly as possible.

      "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." -Jack Layton (1950-2011)

      by Coco Usagi on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 11:41:07 AM PDT

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    •  Why fire her? It's not like the vandals in the (4+ / 0-)

      Senate would confirm a replacement.  In six months the site will work, people will be signed up, and the GOP will have to discover a new 'scandal' to screech about.  As for the news media, they have the attention span of a goldfish, so they will have long moved on.  This, too, shall pass.

      •  Next Tuesday can't come fast enough (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CuriousBoston, blw

        With the elections in VA and NJ and elsewhere. And then the media will have something else to harp on about for about a week. Then the Democrats can bring out the Secretary of Explaining Things, or something...

        "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." -Jack Layton (1950-2011)

        by Coco Usagi on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 11:50:36 AM PDT

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    •  I disagree. The top boss rarely gets fired. And... (7+ / 0-)

      ... in this case, would it do any good except venting frustration and in the case of Republicans, wrecking anti-Obamacare vengeance? Heck, the GOP is better off with a target they can continue to shoot at. And we're all better off with someone who's felt the wrath of the press and the Congress and is in a position to get and focus resources to deal with it.

      Do you really want a newcomer, who is subject to the Senate's confirmation processes, coming in now?

      As for Secretary Sibelius, how closely would you have had her involved in the development of the website?

      Would she have been told what apparently others were told, a batch of caveats, for example, that (1) we need more time, (2) this is really complicated (many variations at each stage and several stages, and we're not getting all in the information and buy-in we need from various sources, (3) can we break this linear sequence up into more manageable sub-pieces even if it disrupts the continuous flow of each person's unique experience, etc.

      And then what, realistically, would she have done?

      The best thing would have been to postpone and do troubleshooting by an overlord not involved in the program, but familiar with how similar complex websites work. That sounds like what we've got now. It's coming in later than it should, but better now ...

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 11:51:40 AM PDT

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      •  She had 4 years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        No I don't want her involved in the website programming but it's her job to see it gets done.

        So how is she held "accountable?"  Just words.

        •  True, it's words. But it's words like "The buck... (0+ / 0-)

          ... stops here. I take responsibility. I'm going to fix it."

          That's accountability. Sure, she could be fired. Politicians want to hold up bloodied heads just like the princes on their parapets. But where would that leave us today? What lessons would be learned?

          There already are a fair set of deterrents against qualified people taking top jobs in government who must suffer confirmation from a partly-hostile Senate (not to mention delays, prostrations at the feet of naysayers, bowing and scraping interviews that could be entrapment as much as congeniality), resistance from career employees in the organization (like businesses whose CEOs float in from Somewhere Else), and make the requisite trips to the Hill to be lectured by people whose inch-deep, talking-points, camera-ready understanding comes from rushed briefings from staffers ... and who, when confirmed, are suddenly responsible for an organization largely not of their making and shaping and buffeted by all manner of demands from the Hill, other agencies, lobbyists, etc.

          No CEO - except maybe for the Vatican, the army and the old AT&T/Bell System - has a grasp of all the pieces of a complex organization, particularly for hot projects that define the organization. Get the boss too close to that and you get what you got in Obamacare, political decisions about the website presentation that made it harder to implement, not easier. (Apply under Jobs possibly was an exception.)

          I want Secretary Sibelius to stay on her job and give almost all of her attention to getting Obamacare implementation done right, all facets. Marshaling resources, running interference for the experts she trusts, meeting the press and briefing the Hill and her boss. Her reputation is at stake and she's publicly accepted that it's not looking good now. She is just the person who should be there for the rest of the rollout.

          And if the website comes on and one of the most complex engines in America starts running well and delivering on what it's promised, there's not a business in America who wouldn't want her. Maybe even, say, JPMorganChase.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 01:07:00 PM PDT

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        •  That's why (0+ / 0-)

          the project manager(s) who directly supervised the programmers and the middle managers who interfaced with the project managers and got the status updates, that then spun a "it will all work out" tale for those at the top will likely be fired.

          Someone at her level listens to what her minions tell her.  If they said, "we have a few issues, but we can make it work", then she probably nodded and said "good, make it so".  

          The lion's share of the blame does not lay with the very top or the very bottom (developers).  Either the middle was too pressured to lie or hide the true extent of the issues, or they weren't good enough at their jobs to realize that it wouldn't work.

          •  NYT has a graphic on the website system. (0+ / 0-)

            It's simple and, well, graphic.

            On it, I see things like "the government made 'a late decision requiring consumers to register for an account before they could browse for insurance products.'” This tells me someone - I doubt very much that it was a knowledgeable manager of e-commerce systems! - said the whole caboodle must be linear. I am a novice but I recognize that as a Killer. Separate the functions. Stick a delay for checking eligibility in if necessary. Let the user go on and compare choices based on state, age and maybe a rough estimate of income ... but display only possibles and caution that they must enter eligibility and get it verified before the rest of the process locks in. (The GOES system of clearing requests for speeded up airport security and customs procedures requires verifications and base-touchingwith four government agencies ... and the normal wait is day, if not weeks.)

            Look at the number of ACA variables to juggle and manage, many of which are not in the control of the US government and its contractors.

            This project took management, way beyond the mechanics of coding and processing. And it took someone saying No! to politically-driven choices as much as No! to developers who introduced off-stream ideas.

            I don't know about firing them. But I sure as heck would watch progress carefully and make sure a system administrator already knowledgeable with some of the key sub-systems is on the case!

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 02:10:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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