FEMA Administrator Brock Long resigned Wednesday, during a time when the U.S. Virgin Islands are highly dependent on funds and technical assistance from that agency.
Deputy FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor is taking his place as acting administrator.
Long served for two years, earning praise for FEMA work after Hurricane Harvey in Texas but criticism for the handling of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. He also has come under scrutiny for using public vehicles for private use. An inspector general’s report was critical of his driving in FEMA vehicles with FEMA drivers on his frequent trips from DC to his North Carolina home and while on vacation in Hawaii. Aides accompanied Long on his trips, staying in FEMA-funded hotel rooms. Costs for those trips totalled $151,000, according to the inspector general’s report.
“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.
“It has been a great honor to serve our country as FEMA administrator for the past two years. During my tenure, the agency worked more than 220 declared disasters. President Trump, Vice President Pence and Secretary Nielsen have been extremely supportive of me, the FEMA workforce and our mission,” he said.
Delegate Stacey Plaskett issued a statement on the news.
“I would like to thank Administrator Brock Long of FEMA for his service to this nation and to the Virgin Islands. I hope to work closely with the current acting administrator and look forward to working with the permanent replacement when they are named. Brock Long has seen this nation respond and recover from 6 major hurricanes, 5 historic wildfires and dozens of other serious emergencies,” Plaskett said.
“The mission of FEMA is to help people before, during and after disasters. I look forward to working with FEMA in order to bring an orderly and systemic means of federal natural disaster assistance to not only the Virgin Islands but to state and local governments in the United States in an effort to carry out its responsibilities to aid all citizens,” she said.