[Hpn] FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN RELIEVED OF HIS RESPONSIBILITIES

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Fri, 9 Sep 2005 14:40:01 -0400


FEMA Director Brown relieved of hurricane responsibilities

Full story: 
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/hurricanekatrina/2002483679_webfemadirector09.html

By Lara Jakes Jordan
The Associated Press



WASHINGTON  Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is 
being relieved of his command of the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina 
onsite relief efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff 
announced Friday.

 He will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was 
overseeing New Orleans relief and rescue efforts, Chertoff said.

 Earlier, Brown confirmed the switch. Asked if he was being made a scapegoat 
for a federal relief effort that has drawn widespread and sharp criticism, 
Brown told The Associated Press after a long pause: "By the press, yes. By 
the president, No."

 "Michael Brown has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the 
federal response to this unprecedented challenge," Chertoff told reporters 
in Baton Rouge, La. Chertoff sidestepped a question on whether the move was 
the first step toward Brown's leaving FEMA.

 But a source close to Brown, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 
FEMA director had been considering leaving after the hurricane season ended 
in November and that Friday's action virtually assures his departure.

 Brown has been under fire because of the administration's slow response to 
the magnitude of the hurricane. On Thursday, questions were raised about 
whether he padded his resume to exaggerate his previous emergency management 
background.

 Less than an hour before Brown's removal came to light, White House press 
secretary Scott McClellan said Brown had not resigned and the president had 
not asked for his resignation.

 Chertoff suggested the shift came as the Gulf Coast efforts were entering 
"a new phase of the recovery operation." He said Brown would return to 
Washington to oversee the government's response to other potential 
disasters.

 "I appreciate his work, as does everybody here," Chertoff said.

 "I'm anxious to get back to D.C. to correct all the inaccuracies and lies 
that are being said," Brown said in a telephone interview with The 
Associated Press.

 Asked if the move was a demotion, Brown said: "No. No. I'm still the 
director of FEMA."

 He said Chertoff made the decision to move him out of Louisiana. It was not 
his own decision, Brown said.

 "I'm going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife and, maybe get a good 
Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night's sleep. And then I'm 
going to go right back to FEMA and continue to do all I can to help these 
victims," Brown said. "This story's not about me. This story's about the 
worst disaster of the history of our country that stretched every government 
to its limit and now we have to help these victims."
William Charles Tinker

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