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The head of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management, Deanne Criswell, is bound for Washington, DC, where she will head FEMA, the federal government’s lead disaster response agency, for President-elect Joe Biden.
“The American people deserve leaders like Deanne Criswell,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement, which announced her departure Friday. “Deanne has been a fearless, expert and deeply respected voice in this administration.”
If Criswell is confirmed by the Senate, she will become the first woman to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Hizzoner named Criswell as OEM commissioner in June 2019.
Her hiring came six months after de Blasio’s administration botched the response to a snowstorm and attempted to sack then-OEM commissioner Joe Esposito — a well-respected longtime police and emergency management official — in the aftermath, only to botch the firing.
City Hall initially tried to claim that Esposito’s departure had been planned for weeks as he refused to resign. The drama ended when de Blasio eventually backed down — and left him in charge of the agency for another six months.
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