Erich Wagner | September 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Appointee Watch: Nominee for FEMA's No. 2 Job Withdraws

FEMA Administrator Brock Long gives an update on hurricane relief efforts. Long will be without a confirmed deputy a while longer now that the administration's nominee withdrew. FEMA Administrator Brock Long gives an update on hurricane relief efforts. Long will be without a confirmed deputy a while longer now that the administration's nominee withdrew. Andrew Harnik/AP

President Trump’s pick to be deputy director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency has withdrawn his name from consideration for the post, after news reports alleging misconduct when he served in the George W. Bush administration.

According to NBC News, Daniel A. Craig was found by the FBI and Homeland Security Department Office of the Inspector General to have falsified government travel and timekeeping records in 2005. Investigators also probed whether he had violated conflict-of-interest laws in the awarding of FEMA contracts to companies with which he was seeking employment after Hurricane Katrina, but they concluded there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges.

"Given the distraction this will cause the agency in a time when they cannot afford to lose focus, I have withdrawn from my nomination," Craig told NBC News.

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Craig’s withdrawal means FEMA could be without its No. 2 appointee much longer than initially anticipated. The agency is at the forefront of relief efforts in Texas, Florida and other surrounding states in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which made landfall in the United States in short succession earlier this month.

With the Senate back in session following the August recess and having passed a three-month debt limit extension and spending deal last week, committees have begun holding confirmation hearings again. And the Senate confirmed Douglas Domenech to serve as assistant secretary of the Interior for insular areas Wednesday.

But according to The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, which has been tracking more than 500 key administration posts requiring Senate confirmation, there is still a long way to go toward staffing the top levels of the federal government. As of Thursday, only 119 appointees had been confirmed, while 165 people had been announced or formally nominated. There was no announcement for 315 posts.

In recent days, Trump has announced the following people will be nominated to key jobs:

Defense: James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. Geurts is an acquisition executive for the U.S. Special Operations Command and a member of the Senior Executive Service. He previously served as deputy director of the Special Operations Research, Development and Acquisition Center, and he was commander of the Joint Acquisition Task Force Dragon. He is a retired Air Force colonel.

Environmental Protection Agency: William Wehrum, assistant administrator for air and radiation. Wehrum is a partner at law firm Hunton and Williams, where he focuses on air quality issues, regulations and litigation. He previously served in this post on an acting basis during the George W. Bush administration.

State: Manisha Singh, assistant secretary for economic and business affairs. Singh is chief counsel and senior policy advisor to Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. She previously served as deputy assistant secretary of State in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and business Affairs, and was a senior aide to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Carla Sands, ambassador to Denmark. Sands is chairwoman of Vintage Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm. She is a philanthropist known for her work with child-focused nonprofits, and in the 1990s she was a practicing chiropractor.

Rebecca Gonzales, ambassador to Lesotho. Gonzales is a career foreign service officer, and she has been a diplomat since 1992. She is chief of staff at the State Department’s Bureau of Administration.

Transportation: Howard Elliott, administrator, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Elliott is a 40-year veteran of the freight rail industry, and he is currently the vice president of public safety, health, environment and security for CSX Transportation.

Paul Trombino, administrator, Federal Highway Administration. Trombino is president of McClure Engineering Company, a civil engineering firm that focuses on public infrastructure projects. He previously served as director of the Iowa Department of Transportation.

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