Monday, September 12, 2005
Today Mike Brown formally stepped down as the director for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To replace him the administration has tapped one of our native sons, R. David Paulison.
Paulison is a career firefighter from Miami, Florida with over three decades of firefighting experience. He was chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department.
He has plenty of emergency management experience. He was an emergency worker during Hurricane Andrew, he also worked on the the ValueJet Flight 592 Crash in the Everglades and was in charge of Miami-Dade County's emergency management office. In addition, he has led the U.S. Fire Administration.
Paulison is much better prepared to handle the daunting task of leading FEMA. He is a person who has been constantly in the line of fire. He has been forced to deal in high pressure, life saving, emergency situations. His direction comes with much more of a grounded view on how to deal with the countries needs. We can all rest assured Paulison is much more equipped to handle the functions of FEMA then a former horse judge.
Yet, I still don't think that it was all Brown's fault. The blame can be laid on MANY, MANY heads. But someone in the administration had to be sacrificed to the poltical Gods.
Brown’s statements, and actions, after Katrina weren't exactly the politically savvy! t was clear he had to be removed, or moved around at least in order to safe the federal governments reputation. It was clear that the situation called for a take charge kind of person, someone with either a military or first responder experience, had to be set into the New Orleans recovery situation. And that is exactly what happened. They placed Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen and USAF Lt. General Russel Honore. (my personal favorite – I felt so relived to see him in his military uniform talking direct and getting things done.) in charge.
Paulison can turn out to be the ideal candidate. America's first responders are our Firefighters and Police Officers. May it be a dirty bomb or an Earthquake, these public servants are the first one on the scene. Having someone that has been in their footsteps and has climbed the ladder from the bottom up will give a lot of weight to the position and the agency in these challenging times. And hopefully regain American’s confidence in the agency.
Brown made the right call by stepping down, or maybe being pushed down, but either way he is out of the picture. He is right when he stated a lot of the focus was being put on him and not enough on the Katrina situation in the Gulf. I don’t' think anyone was really surprised that this happened. I think everyone saw it coming when they took him off the Katrina situation, it was an indication that he would soon be seeing very little of Brown. Maybe this was the administration’s way to save him face, he could step down in stead of an all out public pink slip. Either way we can continue to focus on the recovery efforts.
Thankfully the American people are a very forgiving group. They understand people make mistakes – because they know, they themselves aren’t perfect.
We will all move forward from this stronger and more determined then ever. I think this was a wake up call to all America, we got to get our things in order and be prepared for the worst. What will you do if Armageddon comes to your home town?
P.S….. I bet the new guy knows some good Cuban stories and realizes that if Armageddon does happen, it’s not our fault!
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