Monday, December 7, 2009

Review: Keifer Bonvillain Blows Whistle on Disaster Recovery for Hurricane Gustav

The Broken Road:
To Disaster Recovery

By Keifer Bonvillain
ISBN: 9780980104912
389 Pages


I may be one of you out there who did not recognize the author’s name nor read his earlier book Ruthless. When I saw the synopsis of this book, I decided I’d like to read it, although at first I thought it was fiction.

The Broken Road: To Disaster Recovery by Keifer Bonvillain, however, is not fiction. Unfortunately. It just may be a totally true account, as known by Bonvillain, of the type of problem America is facing in today’s world, where the bottom line appears to be the top priority for businesses.

I am aware that all types of documentation can be “created” in support of an individual’s position, especially when it is reproduced in a book. However, Bonvillain did one thing in The Broken Road, he used actual names. Obviously, these can all be verified and, in fact, I’ve seen one reader already note on the Internet that he would be doing research related to this incident.

After all, The Broken Road is about the federal work that was done in Louisiana after Hurricane Gustav, a state that had already been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Few people have the guts to be a “whistleblower!”

But I’m one of those that tend to believe a first-line supervisor, especially, when there are people who know enough to support him in the truth...

And, besides, as an old phrase states... “I coulda been a ...” whistleblower

Only thing that stopped me was that by the time I had sufficient documentation and knowledge, I was physically unable to share/repeat/write what I knew—I was under a doctor’s care--burnout. Additionally, I was told by my lawyer that the problems I described had been going on for so long and were so complex that I would not be able to pay her fees because it would require so much of her time to prepare a case. However, I have talked with many people across the States and heard similar stories, perhaps not with as broad a scope as Bonvillain writes about...

At the end of his book, he has not been able to determine the extent to which the corruption pervades the Beck Disaster Recovery. In a way that is understandable since once somebody starts raising questions, there is a slowdown of communication and an effort made to place blame...elsewhere. He has, however, been offered money to stop his activities.

Basically, Keifer Bonvillain was hired off the street as he was seeking tarps to cover his own ruined roof at home! There was no review of credentials, little training (sound familiar?) and he was placed in a job of monitor. Fortunately, Keifer was intelligent, had experience and was able to not only handle his job, but immediately see where there were problems and suggest ways to improve things. Frankly, supervisors who did not have needed experience were quick to take advantage of his organizational skills, ability to train, and create record keeping processing. But more importantly, he was soon totally accepted by the majority of the employees and respected for his efforts in training and on their behalf.

You might say he was “used...”

Because Keifer was not invited to head over to the restaurants for meals or drinks...he was not included in the fishing trip supervisors took on company time...nor did he participate in the sexual exploits of both staff and supervisors. When he discovered that fraud and payoffs were taking place, he finally decided and took action...

And was fired, terminated, laid off, restructured, reorganizated, in a position no longer needed—whatever a company uses for getting rid of somebody that has blown the whistle...or for whatever reason they have!

Keifer Bonvillain is not a professional writer. Due to the type of book, I paid no attention to normal details about dialogue, proofreading, etc. In fact, the inclusion of Keifer’s internal mental thoughts in bold print proved to be a welcome relief to what was being described. Feeling his emotions come through in his writing was important to my opinion.

This book brought back much personal pain and anguish and by the time I was near the end, I had to take breaks from reading due to the physical turmoil it brought. Frankly, I choose to believe this book, not only because of the way it was written, but because I’ve seen or heard too many similar activities occurring in the United States. But you must decide for yourself, after reading The Broken Road by Keifer Bonvillain. Do we continue to see and never report all that we know is just...wrong...??? Keifer is one man who acts!

G. A. Bixler