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December 12, 2005

Print Your Own Money

No, we aren't talking here about printing presses. Instead the call is out for Forest Service Managers to create revenue in various ways that cluster loosely under "revenue enhancement."

This week Intermountain Region Forest Service Leaders are gathering to get their marching orders from a new Regional Business Plan that includes:

  • Program Goals –

    • Getting work done on the ground
    • Minimizing current and future threats to National Forests and Grasslands
    • Building and maintaining Agency credibility in business operations

  • Operational Goals –

    • Invest in people
      • Employee and public health, safety and security
      • Working environment and workforce diversity
      • Workforce skills and training
    • Print our own money (emphasis added)
      • Partnerships and revenues generated from stewardship contracts and other sources
      • Accomplishing performance outcomes via Integrated Resource Stewardship Contracts and Integrated Resource Timber Sale Contracts.
      • Increase program accomplishments and reduce costs through program integration, application of process improvements, and new authorities.
    • Manage Costs and Create Effective Operations
      • Competitively-based Forest allocations
      • Progress toward workforce management goals
      • Progress toward fixed and indirect cost management goals

  • Forest Service Strategic Plan Goals (Tiered from FS National Strat. Plan) –
    • Reduce the risk from catastrophic wildland fire
    • Reduce the risks from invasive species
    • Provide outdoor recreation opportunities
    • Help meet energy resource needs(i.e. "Reduce backlog oil and gas leasing and APDs [Application for a Permit to Drill] and facilitate energy-related special use permit processing," … Coal, Geothermal, Biomass
    • Improve watershed condition
    • Conduct mission-related work in addition to that which supports agency goals (i.e., "Adjust land ownership and maintain boundaries to reduce threats and improve management efficiency. …Revise and update Forest land and resource management plans")

Much of the above is "business as usual" for the agency. "Print our own money," on the other hand is new. Well, sort of new. The Forest Service has long perceived itself as a quasi-business, what with administering the multiple uses, many of which include goods and services that are offered alongside commercial offerings from the private sector including grazing, mining, recreation, timber products, "special" forest products like mushrooms, and so on.

What is novel is that the Forest Service is doubling down efforts to "keep the money," rather than letting it accrue generally to the treasury. This allows for cheerleaders to praise the agency for proper alignment of incentives. This allows for detractors like me to criticize the agency for allowing itself to be corrupted by the influence of money from operations that tend to "enhance revenue" more easily and more bountifully than others.

Posted by Dave on December 12, 2005 at 11:47 AM | Permalink


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