As tornadoes and flooding torment the Midwest, citizens are working together to protect the cities and towns they call home. But that’s no average Joe in this photo — it’s Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. So with five states under federal disaster declarations since the beginning of June alone, what’s wrong with this picture?

Though DHS has acknowledged the disaster scale of the Midwest flooding isn’t as the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, requirements of the recovery effort are massive. DHS and Chertoff have a lot on their plate. Is shoveling sand in Waterloo, Iowa, really where he belongs?

The answer is no. Neither Secretary Chertoff nor the federal government ought to be carrying out such specific disaster preparedness or response tasks. This picture is another reminder of how disaster management has become way over-federalized.