FEMA Administrator Brock Long resigns

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long announced Wednesday that he is resigning.

“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,” Long said in a statement.

His resignation comes months after a controversy over his use of government vehicles.

Last fall, Long was the subject of a Department of Homeland Security probe into whether he was misusing government resources when he used government vehicles and personnel for six-hour drives between his home in North Carolina and FEMA headquarters in Washington.

An inspector general’s investigation, released by House Democrats in September, found that even after Long had been told not to, he continued to use government SUVs and drivers to shuttle between home and work.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the time that Long would reimburse the federal government for his nonofficial use of government vehicles.

Reports surfaced last fall that both the White House and Nielsen had considered asking Long to leave the agency amid the controversy. However, at the time Long denied that Nielsen had asked for his resignation.

After his resignation was announced Wednesday, Nielsen said in a statement that Long had “admirably led the men and women of FEMA during very difficult, historic and complex times.”

“Under Brock’s leadership, FEMA has successfully supported State and Territory-led efforts to respond and recover from 6 major hurricanes, 5 historic wildfires and dozens of other serious emergencies,” she said.

Long, who was confirmed to the position in June 2017, led the federal emergency response to the trio of major hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico in 2017.

FEMA was criticized for its response to Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria, in particular, a storm that resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths.

Last July, Long acknowledged that FEMA’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was flawed, but added that his team did a “phenomenal job” the despite harsh criticisms.

“Going into other areas, like Puerto Rico, there was only one leg that was present and that’s the fact, and that’s the reality,” Long said. “That’s not a complaint, but it’s what we’ve got to overcome in lessons learned from 2017 and going forward. We’ve got to figure out how to build better baseline capabilities at all levels of government.”

Deputy FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor will serve as acting administrator when Long departs. It was not immediately clear when he would leave the agency.

This story has been updated.