View Full Version : AP: FEMA chief Michael Brown removed from role in Katrina efforts
09-09-2005, 12:18 PM
more details to come.
09-09-2005, 12:38 PM
FEMA chief relieved of Katrina duties
Move follows controversy over Brown’s qualifications, agency’s response
NBC News and news services
Updated: 1:36 p.m. ET Sept. 9, 2005
WASHINGTON - Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is being removed from his role managing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, government sources said Friday.
Government sources disclosed the move but spoke on condition of anonymity because the change hadn't been officially announced. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff was expected to announce the change at a 1:45 p.m. ET news conference.
Brown will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who earlier this week was named his deputy to oversee relief and rescue efforts.
Brown is being sent back to Washington from Baton Rouge, La. He was the primary official overseeing the federal government's response to the disaster.
FEMA has been criticized for its response to the disaster, and Time magazine on Friday reported that Brown’s official biography overstated his emergency-management experience.
Brown's biography on the FEMA Web site says he had once served as an "assistant city manager with emergency services oversight," and a White House news release in 2001 said Brown had worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., in the 1970s "overseeing the emergency-services division."
However, a city spokeswoman told the magazine Brown had actually worked as "an assistant to the city manager."
"The assistant is more like an intern," Claudia Deakins told the magazine. "Department heads did not report to him." Time posted the article on its Web site late on Thursday.
A former mayor of Edmond, Randel Shadid, confirmed that Friday. Shadid told The Associated Press that Brown had been an assistant to the city manager, and never assistant city manager.
“I think there’s a difference between the two positions,” said Shadid. “I would think that is a discrepancy.”
Flagg the Wanderer
09-09-2005, 12:56 PM
Wasn't there a show about him?
09-09-2005, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by Flagg Wanderer
Wasn't there a show about him?
09-12-2005, 02:02 PM
AP: Mike Brown says he has resigned as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Details soon
09-12-2005, 02:15 PM
FEMA Director Michael Brown resigns
Chief steps down following removal from role in New Orleans aid effort
Updated: 3:12 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2005
WASHINGTON - Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned “in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president,” three days after losing his on-site command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
“The focus has got to be on FEMA, what the people are trying to do down there,” Brown told The Associated Press.
His decision was not a surprise. Brown was abruptly recalled to Washington on Friday, a clear vote of no confidence from his superiors at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security. Brown had been roundly criticized for FEMA’s bearish response to the hurricane, which has caused political problem for Bush and fellow Republicans.
“I’m turning in my resignation today,” Brown said. “I think it’s in the best interest of the agency and the best interest of the president to do that and get the media focused on the good things that are going on, instead of me.”
09-12-2005, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by KenJr30
?I?m turning in my resignation today,? Brown said. ?I think it?s in the best interest of the agency and the best interest of the president to do that and get the media focused on the good things that are going on, instead of me.? Gee, that happened quicker than I expected. The protocol is usually to hang around for a couple months, and then say you're stepping down to spend more time with your family.
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11-25-2005, 10:29 AM
When life gives you lemons...
Ex-FEMA head to start disaster planning firm (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10198491/)
Brown fiercely criticized for agency's slow response to Hurricane Katrina
DENVER - Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency?s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.
?If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses ? because that goes straight to the bottom line ? then I hope I can help the country in some way,? Brown told the Rocky Mountain News for its Thursday editions.
Brown said officials need to ?take inventory? of what?s going on in a disaster to be able to answer questions to avoid appearing unaware of how serious a situation is.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, critics complained about Brown?s lack of formal emergency management experience and e-mails that later surfaced showed him as out of touch with the extent of the devastation.
The lawyer admits that while he was head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency mistakes were made in the response to Katrina. He also said he had been planning to quit before the hurricane hit.
?Hurricane Katrina showed how bad disasters can be, and there?s an incredible need for individuals and businesses to understand how important preparedness is,? he said.
Brown said companies already have expressed interested in his consulting business, Michael D. Brown LLC. He plans to run it from the Boulder area, where he lived before joining the Bush administration in 2001.
?I?m doing a lot of good work with some great clients,? Brown said. ?My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me.?
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11-25-2005, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by dchester
When life gives you lemons...
[b]Ex-FEMA head to start disaster planning firm (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10198491/)
Isn't this a little like Ted Kennedy opening a driving school?
Here's an article from when some of "you're doing a great job Brownie's" e-mails were made public a few weeks ago.
"I'm a fashion god....Anything I need to tweak?....Can I go home now?" (http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/03/brown.fema.emails/index.html)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Louisiana congressman says e-mails written by the government's emergency response chief as Hurricane Katrina raged show a lack of concern for the unfolding tragedy and a failure in leadership.
Rep. Charlie Melancon, whose district south of New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane, posted a sampling of e-mails written by Federal Emergency Management chief Michael Brown on his Web site on Wednesday.
The Democratic lawmaker cited several e-mails that he said show Brown's failures. In one, as employees looked for direction and support on the ravaged Gulf Coast, Brown offered to "tweak" the federal response.
Two days after Katrina hit, Marty Bahamonde, one of the only FEMA employees in New Orleans, wrote to Brown that "the situation is past critical" and listed problems including many people near death and food and water running out at the Superdome.
Brown's entire response was: "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?" (Copies of e-mails posted by critic -- PDF)
On September 12 Brown resigned, 10 days after President Bush told him, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Brown is still on the federal payroll at his $148,000 annual salary. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, saying Brown's expertise was needed as he investigated what went wrong, agreed to a 30-day extension when Brown resigned. Chertoff renewed that extension in mid-October.
Brown took over FEMA in 2003 with little experience in emergency management. He joined the agency in 2001 as legal counsel to his friend, then-FEMA director Joe Allbaugh, who was Bush's 2000 campaign manager. When Allbaugh left FEMA in 2003 Brown assumed the top job.
Before joining the Bush administration, Brown spent a decade as the stewards and judges commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association.
The e-mails Melancon posted, a sampling of more than 1,000 provided to the House committee now assessing responses to Katrina by all levels of government, also show Brown making flippant remarks about his responsibilities. (Read how office e-mails can come back to haunt)
"Can I quit now? Can I come home?" Brown wrote to Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs, the morning of the hurricane.
A few days later, Brown wrote to an acquaintance, "I'm trapped now, please rescue me."
"In the midst of the overwhelming damage caused by the hurricane and enormous problems faced by FEMA, Mr. Brown found time to exchange e-mails about superfluous topics," including "problems finding a dog-sitter," Melancon said.
Melancon said that on August 26, just days before Katrina made landfall, Brown e-mailed his press secretary, Sharon Worthy, about his attire, asking: "Tie or not for tonight? Button-down blue shirt?"
A few days later, Worthy advised Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working."
On August 29, the day of the storm, Brown exchanged e-mails about his attire with Taylor, Melancon said. She told him, "You look fabulous," and Brown replied, "I got it at Nordstroms. ... Are you proud of me?"
An hour later, Brown added: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god," according to the congressman.
The e-mails came from Chertoff, who oversees FEMA, following a request by Melancon and Rep. Tom Davis, R-Virginia, chairman of a House committee appointed to investigate what went wrong during Katrina, Melancon said.
Brown resigned amid accusations that FEMA acted too slowly after Katrina hammered Louisiana and Mississippi, killing more than 1,200 people. He defended the government's response and blamed leaders in Louisiana for failing to act quickly as the hurricane approached.
He acknowledged he made some mistakes as FEMA's director, but he stressed that the agency "is not a first responder," insisting that role belonged to state and local officials.
Brown could not be reached for comment Wednesday night on the e-mails and Melancon's charges.
Although Chertoff has not turned over all the documents requested by the committee, Melancon charged that the material received so far contradicts testimony by Brown before the committee in which he described himself as an effective leader. (Melancon's analysis of e-mails -- PDF)
Melancon used an e-mail sent September 2, four days after the hurricane hit, to illustrate his point. On that day, Brown received a message with the subject "medical help." At the time, thousands of patients were being transported to the New Orleans airport, which had been converted to a makeshift hospital. Because of a lack of ventilators, medical personnel had to ventilate patients by hand for as long as 35 hours, according to Melancon.
The text of the e-mail reads: "Mike, Mickey and other medical equipment people have a 42-foot trailer full of beds, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, etc. They are wanting to take them where they can be used but need direction.
"Mickey specializes in ventilator patients so can be very helpful with acute care patients. If you could have someone contact him and let him know if he can be of service, he would appreciate it. Know you are busy but they really want to help."
Melancon said Brown didn't respond for four days, when he forwarded the original e-mail to FEMA Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks Altshuler and Deputy Director of Response Michael Lowder.
The text of Brown's e-mail to them read: "Can we use these people?"
Melancon also charged that few of the e-mails from Brown show him assigning specific tasks to employees or responding to pressing problems.
On September 1, FEMA officials exchanged e-mails reporting severe shortages of ice and water in Mississippi. They were to receive 60 trucks of ice and 26 trucks of water the next day, even though they needed 450 trucks of each.
Robert Fenton, a FEMA regional response official, predicted "serious riots" if insufficient supplies arrive.
Brown was forwarded the series of e-mails about the problem, but no response from him is shown in the e-mails provided to the committee, Melancon said.
Katrina came ashore along the Louisiana-Mississippi state line, after being downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4 storm. It flooded 80 percent of New Orleans. It was followed about a month later by Hurricane Rita, which caused more damage and flooding.
Melancon and several other Democrats from districts directly affected by Katrina were invited to participate as a ex-officio members of the Katrina investigative committee, though they have no formal role. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to appoint any Democrats to the panel after GOP leaders rebuffed Democratic demands for an independent probe.
This is the second time a congressional committee had dealt with e-mails relating to FEMA's Katrina response. A complete transcript of Brown's e-mail traffic during the Katrina crisis has not been released by the Department of Homeland Security.
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