William “Brock” Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the past two years, announced his resignation and retirement on Wednesday after an investigation into his misuse of government resources.
“While this has been the opportunity of the lifetime, it is time for me to go home to my family – my beautiful wife and two incredible boys,” Long said in a statement. “As a career emergency management professional, I could not be prouder to have worked alongside the devoted, hardworking men and women of FEMA for the past two years.”
“This is one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. Thank you for an incredible journey and for the support you have shown me,” he wrote in a letter to agency staff.
Long’s deputy, Peter Gaynor, will take over his position temporarily, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said.
Long, who was appointed by President Trump, led FEMA through some of the most devastating forest fires in California’s history, as well as the last hurricane season, which featured five storms that knocked out parts of Florida, Puerto Rico, North Carolina, and Texas. He was at the center of intense criticism of the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which was panned as inadequate and less robust than the response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Long’s misuse of government resources became the subject of a federal investigation, after which he reimbursed the government for his personal use of government vehicles to travel from Washington, D.C. to his North Carolina home. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found that Long’s exploitation of official resources cost taxpayers $94,000 in staff salary, $55,000 in travel expenses, and $2,000 in vehicle maintenance.