The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


FEMA Appointments Coming Soon

By Spencer S. Hsu
Quickly following up her confirmation by the Senate on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is closing in on several top appointments at the sprawling department. One of her first priorities outside of top DHS staff is likely to be the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Besides serving as the president's top adviser during domestic disasters, the next FEMA chief will be under the gun as Congress, Napolitano and the White House debate whether to make FEMA a stand-alone agency or to reorganize it. FEMA also is still rebuilding from its disastrous 2005 response to Hurricane Katrina under former director Michael D. Brown and subsequent reorganizations.

People in the running to lead the nation's disaster response arm are said to include Ellis M. Stanley Sr., general manager of the Los Angeles emergency preparedness department, and Joseph F. Bruno, commissioner of New York City's office of emergency management, according to sources who have spoken with Obama transition officials.

Others said to be in the mix at one point included Bruce Baughman, former director of the Alabama emergency management agency; W. Craig Fugate, director of the Florida division of emergency management; and Mark C. Merritt, a former FEMA official and founding partner of former Clinton FEMA director James Lee Witt's consulting firm. Retired Army lieutenant general Russel Honore, best known for heading the military's response to Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, also has had backers.

Among other changes, Congress mandated that the FEMA director have five years of management experience and emergency management experience, a reaction to complaints that FEMA had become a patronage farm stockpiled with political hacks. R. David Paulison, who took over after Brown to repair FEMA when others turned down the job, stepped down today.

Posted at 3:43 PM ET on Jan 21, 2009
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Hey there, Kili:

On a prior thread, you claimed that I "moved the goalposts, which is, basically, academic self abuse." What "goalposts" are you referring to? I still insist on him proving he is a "natural born" citizen. The oath flub (noted below) was just icing on the cake. BTW: Do you think that Roberts tripped him up on purpose?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 7:17 PM

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

If The One had completely REFUSED to take any oath yesterday, would you still think he was President? Don't you think it would be best to resolve these type of issues before moving on to FEMA, etc.?

The Presidential oath is explicitly prescribed in the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, which begins by saying the president "shall" take the oath "before he enter on the execution of his office."

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 7:14 PM

Indeed. Michael Brown's background, pre-FEMA, was the Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association (a position from which he was forced to resign).

Posted by: Kili | January 21, 2009 7:04 PM


Perhaps you haven't heard that Alan Keyes filed a lawsuit challenging your "President" and any subsequent nominations, appointments, Executive Orders, regulations, legislation, etc.?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 6:00 PM

Hey JakeD...I recommend not displaying your ignorance of what is/isn't going to happen with my agency. She is a presidential appointee, -so knock off the ignorant postings.

Posted by: hades | January 21, 2009 5:53 PM

All of today's purported Executive Orders will be legally challenged.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 5:50 PM

Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, was not legally nominated; no (legal) FEMA appointments are coming soon.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 4:37 PM

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