WASHINGTON – FEMA Administrator Brock Long, who drew praise and criticism for his agency’s response to major disasters, is leaving the agency.
“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 Kirstjen M. Nielsen said about his resignation, which was announced Wednesday.
Deputy Administrator Pete Gaynor will become acting administrator upon Long’s departure.
Long has helmed the agency through several major disasters, including Western wildfires last year and the destruction of Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The Trump administration was roundly criticized for not doing more to help in the aftermath of Maria, which ravaged the island, left nearly 3,000 people dead, and thousands without power for months.
But Long and other administration officials defended the agency’s response by saying Puerto Rico’s antiquated power grid, difficult terrain, hard-to-reach communities and political divisions made a tough job increasingly complicated.
“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,” Long said in a statement released by the agency. “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.”