Previously, ProPublica and NPR have reported at length on the organization’s sluggish response to Hurricane Sandy, which involved taking relief trucks from actual crisis areas so that they could be used as a backdrop for a press conference, throwing out meals because they couldn’t find people who needed to eat them, and leaving wheelchair-bound storm victims to sleep in their chairs for days because appropriate cots weren’t available.
Today’s piece looks at specifically at CEO Gail McGovern, a former AT&T executive who has helmed the charity since 2008. The rub on McGovern, according to ProPublica’s reporting, is this: She eliminated jobs, alienated volunteers, and cherrypicked her own incompetent former AT&T colleagues for top positions. Perhaps all of this would be excusable if it were in the service of making more money so that more funds might be put toward helping victims. But it wasn’t: Under McGovern’s corporate-bred leadership, the charity’s revenue is lower now than it was in 2011, and it has been running a deficit since 2013.
The report also includes a few scenes of disaster victims who literally left out in the cold by the Red Cross, as they were during Hurricane Sandy:
In Northern California last year, the Red Cross shuttered the Napa County chapter and laid off disaster relief staff, according to an internal PowerPoint presentation. Then, in September, a drought-fueled fire swept through the area, consuming more than 75,000 acres and 1,200 homes.
Because of the issues with the Red Cross’ shelter, nearly all of 1,000 displaced people at the Napa County Fairgrounds — including the elderly, new mothers and children, and anyone with a pet — ended up sleeping outside in tents, cars or RVs. The problems were first reported by the Press Democrat newspaper.