As Hurricane Michael barrels into Florida, the agency charged with protecting Americans from the storm has large numbers of senior positions vacant or without permanent staff.
At least 22 senior leadership roles at the Federal Emergency Management Agency are vacant or occupied by staff temporarily filling those positions. Jobs listed on the agency’s website as open include the assistant administrator for risk management and the director of resource management. One other senior official was suspended last month.
Brock Long, FEMA’s administrator, complained about one of the openings during a press briefing on Hurricane Michael.
“One thing that would help is getting my deputy confirmed,” Long said at the briefing Wednesday morning when asked if his agency had the resources to respond to back-to-back hurricanes. “It would be nice to go through a hurricane season with a deputy director inside FEMA.”
President Donald Trump nominated Peter Gaynor to be Long’s deputy in June. Congress has yet to approve Gaynor’s nomination.
The openings at FEMA reflect a broader trend within the Trump administration. Of 702 positions that require confirmation by the Senate, only 366 have been confirmed, according to data collected by the Partnership for Public Service in collaboration with the Washington Post.