Brock Long, head of FEMA and NC native, resigning

FEMA head said he is leaving the post to spend more time with his family

In this Sept. 19, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump listens as FEMA Administrator Brock Long, right, speaks while attending a briefing, after arriving at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to visit areas impacted by Hurricane Florence in Havelock. Long resigned on Feb. 13, 2019. (Evan Vucci / AP Photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Brock Long, a North Carolina native and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is resigning, months after an investigation found he misused government vehicles to travel to his home.

Long, who lives in Hickory and was confirmed as the new head of FEMA back in June 2017, said in a letter Wednesday to agency employees that he was resigning to spend more time with his family.

Long was under investigation by the Homeland Security Department’s watchdog, and word of it leaked just as Hurricane Florence struck last fall. Officials found he misused vehicles — alleging that he used government resources to make six-hour trips from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. — but Long was not asked to resign, and he agreed to reimburse the government.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says he led the agency admirably for two years through six major hurricanes and five historic wildfires.

Deputy Administrator Pete Gaynor will become acting head of the agency.

Long, 43, graduated from Newton-Conover High School and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Appalachian State University. He previously worked for FEMA from 2001 to 2006 as a hurricane program manager, and he also has government experience as an emergency official in both Alabama and Georgia, along with work in the private sector. Long replaced FEMA’s acting administrator, Bob Fenton.

When he was nominated for the post in April 2017, Long did not face the criticism heaped on several other nominees of new President Donald Trump, and many environmentalists backed Long in part because he preached disaster preparedness during confirmation hearings.

North State Journal contributed to this report.