Saturday, September 10, 2005

Top FEMA Officials Lack Experience In Disaster Management

The top three officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency share at least one trait: they had little or no experience in disaster management before landing top FEMA posts.

According to a Sept. 7 Chicago Tribune story, FEMA Director Michael Brown was commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association and had virtually no experience in disaster management.

Brown was removed earlier today as head of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

An official biography of Brown's top aide, acting deputy director Patrick Rhode, doesn't list any disaster relief experience.

The department's No. 3 official, acting deputy chief of staff Brooks Altshuler, also does not have emergency management experience, FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule told the Tribune.

Rhode and Altshuler each worked in the White House's Office of National Advance Operations, which arranges the president's travel and scripts his appearances.


The credentials of top FEMA managers stand in contrast to the backgrounds of leaders of the agency during the Clinton administration.

Clinton-era FEMA Director James Lee Witt headed the Arkansas office of emergency services before he was tapped by Clinton in 1993 to run the federal disaster relief agency.

Witt's top aides in 2000, Lynn Canton and Michael Armstrong, both ran regional FEMA offices for at least three years before assuming senior positions with the agency in Washington.


The question that no one is asking, of course, is why isn't the Bush Administration getting any heat for putting together a FEMA team so lacking in experience? Why isn't anyone criticizing the administration -- and his Republican-led Congress -- for allowing a FEMA leadership that screams "party before country."

Maybe because officially, the Bush Administration doesn't think FEMA has done a bad job.

Brown's boss, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, said today in discussing Brown's removal from the Katrina response: "Mike Brown has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the federal response to this unprecedented challenge. I appreciate his work, as does everybody here."

And JABBS agrees. Mike Brown did do "everything he possibly could." He was so woefully unprepared for the task at hand, so badly overmatched by the realities of Hurricane Katrina, that "everything he possibly could" do was not very good.

You know Brown will disappear from the public eye for a while, then get a cushy job with some Washington think tank or corporate friend of Bush/Cheney.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be a good idea to give Drownie a job as a contract pilot to fly Air Force One!

2:06 AM  
Blogger CSC5502D said...

So I'm wondering....last year when all those hurricanes hit Florida one after the other...where was all the criticism of Brown and FEMA then? I guess he did an okay job then huh?

Apparently when most of the victims of the hurricane(s) are older, better off white people, no one's interested, but as soon as Jessie Jackson gets involved, Mike Brown is incompetent. Hmmmm......

3:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

idont personally care if Brown gets a great job now, even if the president gives it to him. its irrelevant--life isnt fair but as long as he isnt in charge of other people's lives.....

he should never have been tapped to lead FEMA and his aides also being inexperienced is pathetic. I dont know why you dont think Bush is taking heat for this. I believe he is - his approval ratings keep falling and everyone has questioned the response. the spin isnt working too well, partially because it is difficult to intelligently spin this situation. The real important issue here politically is not Bush but rather how it affects republicans overall. Bush is a lame duck and cheney is not running for anything.

The obvious and more important issue is that he damn well better improve the choices for running emergency operations. The response at all levels was horrible, and the excuses put out there have been worse than pathetic.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


the largely rich white people in Florida didn't get to wait a week for drinking water, so I'm guessing that they had no complaints. Help gets to Jeb Bush's Florida pretty fast.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

CSC, since you were being snide in your comments, I'll be snide in my retort.

The hurricanes struck Florida in an election year. Bush knew he needed to win Florida, so the response time for FEMA was spectacular. It helps that everything was coordinated so nicely with brother Jeb.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the botched run up to 9-11, to the false pretenses to go into Iraq, to the botched effort in managing the war -- and now the horribly botched response to Katrina.
The Administration's utter incompetence has destroyed our country's reputation, goodwill, and finances, and has killed and maimed thousands of innocent people at home and abroad.
Undeniably, Bush will go down as the most disasterous presidency in history.
It should be funny, but hurts too much to laugh.
Please no more finger-pointing from the Bushies at the local and state governments in New Orleans. FEMA as a unit of DHS and the federal government clearly stated in a report last Nov. that it was to have complete control over such a disaster as Katrina.
We have documented evidence Brown sat on his hands for 48 hours before taking action. He was a political hack documented to have no experience in emergency management. JABBS unearthed the news that Clinton's FEMA managers were highly experienced.
It gets tiresome after awhile pointing out the Bush Administration's endless catastrophic errors in judgment. It is beyond belief.
Yet as long as the Bushies in the MSM can continue to throw up a seed of doubt and as long as the Democrats act like docile wimps, we are at the mercy of the country's fantatical leadership dragging us into even greater irrepairable catastrophe.
What do we as the common people have to do to save our country? Form a possee as in those old western movies and physically run the Bush Administration out of the White House?

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read a ridiculous comment from a blogger above who wondered why no one attacked Brown during the hurricanes last year in Florida.
Those disasters were relatively minor and did not require the urgent oversight or involvment of the federal government.
It's no wonder the Bush Administration has caused us to deny our own rationale and common sense when we have to answer to such stupid claims as the one conveyed by a Bush apologist above.
I believe the Bush Administration could be found to have personally invited an Al Quada terrorist with a live bomb into a New York city office building. Yet his supporters would still find a way to excuse or whitewash the mistake.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Erika said...

They are all Bushbot donors

None had credentials and our poor paid the price.

2:22 AM  

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