September 12, 2005

Brown Out

Took a lot less time than I expected. Mike Brown resigned today. CNN has the story:
FEMA director Brown resigns
President taps senior staff member as temporary replacement

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown resigned Monday after coming under fire over his qualifications and for what critics call a bungled response to Hurricane Katrina's destruction.

President Bush chose David Paulison, the director of FEMA's preparedness division, as interim director, the White House announced.

"As I told the president, it is important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA," Brown said in a news release.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this president and to work shoulder to shoulder with the hard working men and women of FEMA. They carry out an unusually difficult task under the harshest of circumstances. My respect for these dedicated professionals and this organization is unyielding.

"There is no other government agency that reaches people in a more direct way. It has been the best job in the world to help Americans in their darkest hours."

The resignation came three days after Brown was recalled to Washington by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and replaced as the point main for Katrina relief efforts.

Since Brown's reassignment, Vice Adm. Thad Allen, the Coast Guard's chief of staff, has been leading FEMA's mission along the Gulf Coast.

On Friday, a Time magazine article called into question whether Brown's resume was padded to overstate his experience in emergency management. A FEMA official quoted in the report said Brown believed the article was inaccurate.
I blogged about the Time Magazine article here. And we have the obligatory "we fired his ass but he was actually a good worker" sendoff from Chertoff:
Chertoff said in a news release that Brown had done his job.

"Mike managed over 160 disasters during his tenure at FEMA, and his service in those disasters has been commended by many," Chertoff said. "He has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the federal response to the unprecedented challenge posed by Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans levee breach. He is a good man, and I personally appreciate his work and his commitment."
Yeah, 160 very small disasters where the local infrastructure was more than capable to handle any issues. I have a bad personal taste in my mouth from FEMA -- Seattle, WA had a minor earthquake a few years ago. My sewer line was damaged and it would cost me about $5K to repair it. FEMA based their relief on the cost of a typical repair averaged over the entire USA. FEMA said that this repair should only cost about $1,200. I was thinking fine, give me the $1,200 and I'll cover the rest. No -- they had to either fully fund the repair or they would not contribute anything. Seattle is a bit on the expensive side plus there was a below ground level garage with a loose rock retaining wall on either side. One side had to be dismantled for the work to be done, it was not a "cookie-cutter" job, there was a lot more labor involved. It is good that Brown stepped down and it will be interesting to see who Bush chooses as his replacement. I wonder what Gen. Russel Honore is thinking about for the next ten years or so... Posted by DaveH at September 12, 2005 8:54 PM
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