Trump taps FEMA official to lead agency


President Trump on Friday nominated Jeffrey Byard to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the previous administrator Brock Long resigned this week.

Byard, who currently serves as FEMA’s associate administrator for Response and Recovery, is the agency’s most senior employee overseeing disaster response, recovery, logistics and field operations.

Prior to joining FEMA, he worked for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and led several high-profile operations, including the state evacuation during Hurricane Gustav and response and recovery operations following the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill.

{mosads}Should he be confirmed, Byard would succeed Long, who resigned Wednesday after a tenure marked by ethics probes and questions surrounding his handling of a deadly hurricane in Puerto Rico. Long said in a statement Wednesday he was resigning to spend more time with family in North Carolina.

“While this has been the opportunity of the lifetime, it is time for me to go home to my family — my beautiful wife and two incredible boys,” he said. “As a career emergency management professional, I could not be prouder to have worked alongside the devoted, hardworking men and women of FEMA for the past two years.”

Long was dogged by questions over FEMA’s response to a hurricane that killed almost 3,000 people in Puerto Rico and his personal use of government vehicles to shuttle back and forth from Washington to North Carolina. He also oversaw federal responses to several natural disasters, including a series of destructive hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and much of the Southeast and historic wildfires in California.

“Over the last two years, Administrator Long has admirably led the men and women of FEMA during very difficult, historic and complex times,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversees FEMA, said Wednesday. “I appreciate his tireless dedication to FEMA and his commitment to fostering a culture of preparedness across the nation.”

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