Who is Deanne Criswell, Biden’s boss at FEMA?


As Louisiana and the Gulf Coast braced for Hurricane Ida, which was expected to make landfall on Sunday potentially as a Category 4 storm, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was to play a key role in relief efforts. in the event of a disaster.

So who is his boss, Deanne Criswell?

Criswell, formerly commissioner of the New York City Department of Emergency Management, was confirmed by the Senate as a FEMA administrator in April and is the first woman to lead the agency.

During his two years in New York City, Criswell helped manage the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, large fires, excessive heat and blackouts – as well as events like the marathon. from New York, according to his biography on the FEMA website.

A recently released report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer claimed the city’s response to the pandemic was outdated and lacked essential supplies like N95 masks for healthcare workers, according to The City newspaper in New York City.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the response, saying there is “no way to fully understand a global pandemic until you are there and none of us have foreseen , nowhere, something like that “.

Deanne Criswell is the first woman to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  (FEMA website)

Deanne Criswell is the first woman to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency. (FEMA website)


In February 2020, it was found that the city’s stock of over 100,000 N95s had expired.

In response, Criswell wrote in an email last year: “There are no unexpired surgical grade N-95 masks in any stock in town.” But NYC Health + Hospitals’ 2019 pandemic preparedness manual said a large stockpile of personal protective equipment should still be on hand, according to the newspaper.

Stringer’s report revealed that it was not clear exactly what role Criswell’s department played in the response to the pandemic, which has claimed more than 33,000 lives in New York City.

De Blasio praised Criswell after President Biden nominated her for the FEMA role in January.

“The American people deserve leaders like Deanne Criswell,” de Blasio said, according to the AM New York newspaper. “Deanne has been a fearless, expert and deeply respected voice in this administration. I’m proud of all she’s accomplished in New York City, and can’t wait to see what she does in her new role.”

Criswell previously worked for FEMA in a lower level position during the Obama administration, including leading a National Incident Management Assistance Team and as Federal Coordinator where she was the lead Federal Representative for major disasters, according to the FEMA website.

In 2005, long before Criswell’s arrival, FEMA faced backlash for its response to Hurricane Katrina, which set its sights on New Orleans 16 years ago on Sunday.

If the response to Ida runs into trouble, Criswell could find himself in a position similar to that of former FEMA director Michael Brown, who was running the agency when Katrina struck. Brown was forced to resign because of the widely criticized federal response.

Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths and caused disastrous dike ruptures and flooding in New Orleans, which took years to recover.

During Katrina’s response, Criswell was working in Colorado as the Chief of the Emergency Management Office for the City of Aurora, where she coordinated transitional housing and family reunification for displaced Katrina evacuees in the area. .


Most recently, Criswell was in the field during the search and recovery operation for the Surfside, Florida condo collapse that left 98 people dead.

“It’s hard to put into words the devastation this community is experiencing,” Criswell said, according to Cox Media Group. “FEMA is on the ground. We have a recovery center that is working directly with the families and loved ones affected by this tragic event to give them the help they need.”

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