FEMA Administrator Brock Long Announces Resignation

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 11:  FEMA Administrator Brock Long listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in the Oval Office September 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump and Long warned coastal residents of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to adhere to evacuation orders as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast of the United States.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

FEMA Administrator Brock Long announced Wednesday that he would step down from the emergency management agency. Long’s improper use of government resources for personal travel fit a pattern among senior Trump administration officials.

In a statement posted to the FEMA website he wrote: “While this has been the opportunity of the lifetime, it is time for me to go home to my family – my beautiful wife and two incredible boys.”

“As a career emergency management professional, I could not be prouder to have worked alongside the devoted, hardworking men and women of FEMA for the past two years,” Long wrote. “Upon my departure, Mr. Peter Gaynor, will serve as Acting FEMA Administrator. I leave knowing the Agency is in good hands.”

Long was criticized for the administration’s disastrous response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and for his refusal to correct President Donald Trump’s false conspiracy theory that Maria’s large fatality count on the island was fabricated by Democrats.

Long also served as FEMA administrator through Hurricane Harvey, which rocked Houston, Hurricanes Irma and Michael’s landfall in Florida, wildfires in California, and more.

In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whose agency houses FEMA, wrote of Long: “Under Brock’s leadership, FEMA has successfully supported State and Territory-led efforts to respond and recover from 6 major hurricanes, 5 historic wildfires and dozens of other serious emergencies.”

Perhaps most notable in Long’s tenure is the investigation, initially by the DHS inspector general’s office, into his improper use of FEMA resources for frequent trips home to North Carolina.

The Wall Street Journal reported in September that the probe had been referred to prosecutors — reportedly almost leading Long to quit his post — and soon after, the House Oversight Committee also asked for Long’s travel records. A FEMA official was reportedly suspended without pay for his involvement in the trips.

Aides accompanied Long on his trips home, staying in FEMA-funded hotel rooms. Long used FEMA drivers and FEMA vehicles for the trips.

“It’s my understanding that maybe some policies were not developed around these vehicles that we will get cleared up and push forward,” he acknowledged at one point, as Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas.

The trips home, and a family trip to Hawaii, where FEMA aides drove the Longs around in government vehicles, added up to $151,000, according to an inspector general’s tally.

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