Thursday, December 13, 2012

On missing the point

Prudence wrote a memo the other week.  As one does - in the public service, memos are like blood.  They circulate, new ones being made, old ones being excreted, and they make things happen.  One hopes.

This one argued strongly against awarding a grant.  Laws had been broken, policies disregarded, integrity was entirely absent.

The first time it came back, there was a righteously indignant admonishment on its lack of block justification.  Apparently a non-block-justified memo is poison to the eyes of the executive.

So Prudence grumbled and re-justified the stinking memo and sent it back up.

Not altogether surprisingly, it came back down, this time accompanied by a gormless young man.

"I think you should include a procurement option," he mumbled, not meeting Prudence's eye.

"No, you've missed the point," said Prudence with not a little incredulity.  "Under no circumstances should we give this lot any money."

"But I'd like you to include the option."

The conversation, if one could stretch the truth sufficiently to compliment it so, went back and forth in a similar vein for nearly half an hour, Prudence's patience wearing dangerously thin.

The upshot:  another memo.  Explaining again the extreme dodginess of the applicant, and putting forward a whole different suite of arguments on why said applicant should be sent away with a flea in his ear.

Life is ever so.

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