Who the hell is this Fema Director guy?

I heard that he worked 11 years for an Arabian horse association before taking the reigns at FEMA.

here he is

His online resume at FEMA reportedly leaves out this fact. His only other experience in emergency response was helping after a storm in the 1970s. He reportedly got his present job because he was friends with the former FEMA director. On Thursday, he was unaware of the thousands trapped at the New Orleans convention center, though anybody with a TV knew all about it.

In light of his “qualifications” and FEMA’s performance over that last week, wouldn’t his appointment as the head of FEMA be considered gross negligence? Who appointed him?

Here is his official biography.

Actually, Government web pages being free of copyright, I’ll just copy it right to here to save you a click:

Thanks, That must be the resume with no mention of the Arabian Horse Association.

here’s new story on him from the Washington Post

He was fired for “mismanagement” from the job he held prior to working with FEMA.

Which accounts for the bales of hay airdropped into New Orleans.

I found this the most chilling part of the Post article:

Exceeded the foresight? The army corps of engineers wanted $25 million to rebuild the levees and didn’t get it.

Even SNL’s Mr. Bill knew it was a major risk. This isn’t like 9/11 with a handful of memos that were buried, there was more info that a city below sea level needed better levees to stave off hurricanes and it didn’t get done.

Why is this in Great Debates? :wink:
Is someone going to defend this incompetant or are we going to debate if he should just resign of Commit Hari-Kari on live TV? :wink:
His is probably the greatest failure in the history of FEMA and maybe even the USA. :mad:

I must commit his name to memory:
Michael D. Brown

Alright, here’s a great debate: why wasn’t the guy fired in 2003?

From the officila biography posted:

Now presumably we’ve all heard the stories about FEMA rejecting supplies, equipment, and aid in New Orleans. They rejected firefighters from Texas, trucks from Wisconsin and Illinois, resuce boats from the Coast Guard, and so on and so on. But I wonder how many people remember that exactly the same thing happened during the 2003 California fires. Forest fighting units from northern California had planes and trucks that they were offering to send to southern California, but they were never brought into use because of a bureaucratic proble. Specifically some clause in some obscure regulation about the National Park Service and Forest Service having to allow for fair competition from privatized fire fighting companies prevented those planes from being used.

So why the hell was this idiot left sitting in place to make the same mistake on an even larger scale two years later?

As God is my witness, I thought the bales could fly…

Speaking as an avowed Bush-hater, could it possibly be because to fire him would imply the pres had made a bad decision in nominating him? Dubya does so seem to hate to acknowledge any errors.

That’s got something to do with it. Y’know, if I was an incompetent buffoon who couldn’t even run a horse association, there is nothing I’d want more than to go to work for Bush. I have never seen such loyalty to subordinates in my life.

IIRC, Mike Brown got appointed head of FEMA when his predecessor (and college roommate) Joe Allbaugh (Bush fundraising croney) left the job to become a lobbyist for Halliburton and help them get Iraqi reconstruction contracts.

And speaking of Mr. Allbaugh, it looks like he’s now in a position to help lobby for Halliburton in winning post-Katrina repair work…

But the sugar cubes wre a real treat.

Does the head of a department like FEMA need to have experience in emergency response? It has always been my impression that at that level those guys are adminstrators. They oversee the budget process, allocate resources and so on. Often it is a bad move to put specialists into administrative roles. Leave each person to their own specialty rather than turning, say, an engineer into a paper pusher.

That said this guy clearly dropped the ball badly. I do not know why or how an agency like FEMA whose job it is to be prepared for exactly this eventuality could be caught so flat footed. I suspect it is a mix of bureaucracy run amok and being overly cost conscious (i.e. lets not spend the money to mobilize or preposition anyone/anything since that is expensive) but I’ll wait to see. Ultimately they gambled with people’s lives and welfare and lost badly and the ultimate cost of this will far exceed whatever it may have cost them had they mobilized and not been needed.

In a related vein, ThinkProgress notes that Mike Brown’s successors at FEMA are even more unqualified for the job:

Expect to see Brown receive the Medal of Freedom any day now.

Speaking as a guy who thinks the Bush administration is criminally negligent (as well as the governments of New Orleans and Louisiana, just to pass the blame around) I agree. I think Brown screwed up, but I don’t really understand the criticism that he’s never held a job like this before. There isn’t any other job like being head of FEMA. It’s the biggest emergency response organization in the entire world.

I could cite a litany of people who did a fantastic job heading up organizations in field they had no prior experience in; indeed, sometimes that is exactly the sort of person you need. Brown screwed up because he’s a screwup, not because of his resume.

James Lee Witt, Clinton’s FEMA Head, ran the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services for four years before being put in charge of FEMA.

I used to wonder whether Bush kept all these flunkies and flacks around so they could be conveniently scapegoated and fired when his mess of an administration dropped the ball on something, but he seems less willing to do that and admit error for hiring them in the first place than to keep the yo-yos around while keeping up the charade of unimpeachable judgment.

From the reading I’ve been doing over the last few days, it seems clear that rolling FEMA into DHS was severely crippling. They used to be an independent, nimble (for government, anyway) agency, led by a guy who understood the mission; then they found themselves buried in a gargantuan bureaucracy where just ordering business cards took six to nine months. Over the last four years, all the qualified people have departed; I saw something that said FEMA has gone from being one of the best government agencies to be employed by (as rated by staff) to one of the worst, largely because of the loss of independence and the incompetence of detached and disinterested political opportunists like Allbaugh and Brown.