Disaster Zone

FEMA Assistant Administrator Elizabeth Harman is Out

They come and then they go.

by Eric Holdeman / December 5, 2012

There is going to be a significant change in political appointees back in Washington, D.C.  The average lifespan of an appointee is 18 months.  That is not much time to come in, learn a job and contribute, before packing out your desk and moving on to the next position.


The first one I've heard about leaving at FEMA is Elizabeth Harman, Assistant Administrator and the person responsible for all the homeland security grants.  It is the grants position that has me wondering if she was tired of the job or she was "moved along" and out of the position.  


As funding has dwindled it has been her mission to administer fewer dollars to fewer jurisdictions, be they Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) cities or just fewer dollars to the same number of organizations.  It was under her tenure that the National Preparedness Grant Program was floated out there as a trial balloon, and shot down.  As I reported earlier this year, all the national associations rose up and testified in Congress about how they had not been coordinated with, etc.  It was not what I would call a "big win for the gipper."  While it still exists and the Administration has not backed off on it--it would seem to be "dead on arrival" for 2013 unless attitudes or the Fiscal Cliff changes everything.


Harman did last about 2.5 years which in "dog years" would almost be getting close to two decades.  But, alas in D.C. you age out quickly!