FEMA's second-ranking official leaving agency

FEMA's second-ranking official leaving agency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will announce Friday that Daniel Kaniewski, the agency's second-ranking official, is resigning from his post.

A FEMA spokesperson told The Hill that Kaniewski, whose official position is deputy administrator for resilience, is leaving “to pursue an opportunity outside of the government," adding that Kaniewski served his country "honorably" during his tenure with the agency.

Kaniewski had been with FEMA since September 2017, roughly around the time Hurricanes Irma and Maria bore down on Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida.

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FEMA has had a rocky past couple of years, as the hurricanes were just some of the natural disasters that have struck the U.S. in recent years. After heavy criticism about how the agency handled these disasters, its director, Brock Long, resigned in 2019. 

While at FEMA, Kaniewski put a lot of energy into transforming the role that the agency plays in disasters. Instead of being just a response agency, Kaniewski pushed FEMA to educate vulnerable communities on how to strengthen their infrastructure and preparedness before a disaster strikes, Buzzfeed News reports.

According to the news source, Kaniewski often described FEMA as "not a first responder," arguing that the agency's job was to support a state's efforts once a state of emergency has been declared by the president.

“The reason I came into government was to make resilience and building a culture of preparedness my top priority,” Kaniewski told BuzzFeed on Wednesday.

Kaniewski also told the outlet that despite leaving his post, he will remain in Washington, D.C., and hopes he can "continue to hopefully advance these issues from the outside.”