Friday, November 5, 2010

Biomass Expert and Political Target

I think that when my public policy group decided to do our project on the standards of biomass boilers in New Hampshire, we all secretly believed that it was the least politically polarizing topic of the given options. Little we were expecting to find ourselves in a political bloodbath* a few months later. Even more, the side that was tearing us apart was the side that we all personally agreed with.
I had flashbacks to when I received that email tearing apart our biomass boiler presentation when I walked into the District’s data manager’s office earlier this week…because who ever thought that adding and dividing some numbers to put into a 6 month report could be so politically controversial. Let me rephrase that, given that the 6 month report was written before I even started here, all I actually did was make sure that numbers in it looked pretty and matched each other. But when I walked into the data manager’s office, I was bombarded with questions and accusations about how we came up with our numbers in the report. In a panic, I pulled out my computer and started clicking through the 10+ tab interlinking Excel sheets that Lauren had meticulously created months ago, explaining away why we used certain denominators or numerators or absolute values instead of relative values in as simple English as possible to a group of people that doesn’t actually understand English and all the while realizing that at least it was a good learning experience for two reasons:
1.       Listing assumptions is really important – especially when somebody is forced to explain your calculations 4 months later.
2.       I can appreciate now why accounting might actually be a stressful profession with multiple results drawn from the same data. Love ya Pops.
*By standards of the NH State Legislature.

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