About Mike Parker

Ken AshfordBush & Co., DisastersLeave a Comment

One of the things I write about often is how the Bush Adminsitration often fires (or marginalizes) knowledgeable people who contradict made-up policy with annoying things like facts, common sense, and honest-to-god expertise and experience. 

I wonder if one of those guys was Mike Parker, a former Republican congressman from Mississippi who briefly served as head of the Army Corps of Engineers from late 2001 to early 2002. 

Here’s what Parker said in 2002, on the occasion of his firing:

The assistant secretary of the Army, Mississippi’s former U.S. Rep. Mike Parker, was forced out Wednesday after he criticized the Bush administration’s proposed spending cuts on Army Corps of Engineers’ water projects, members of Congress said.

"Apparently he was asked to resign," said U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s energy and water development subcommittee that oversees the corps’ budget.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, also said Parker was dismissed.

Parker’s nomination to head the corps drew heavy criticism last year from environmental groups pushing to downsize the agency, calling its flood control projects too costly and destructive.

Parker earned the ire of administration officials when he questioned Bush’s planned budget cuts for the corps, including two controversial Mississippi projects.

"I think he was fired for being too honest and not loyal enough to the president," said lobbyist Colin Bell, who represents communities with corps-funded projects.

Bell said Parker resigned about noon after being given about 30 minutes to choose between resigning or being fired.

He’s quoted in today’s Chicago Tribune saying, "I’m not saying it wouldn’t still be flooded, but I do feel that if it had been totally funded, there would be less flooding than you have."  Recall that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested $27 million for this fiscal year to pay for hurricane-protection projects around Lake Pontchartrain, and only received $5.7 million (and the Bush adminsitration wanted to give only $3.9 million)

Josh Marshall is on the case.