"Can I Quit Now?" asked Brown
This is sure to be everywhere soon, but not a one of the students in my Thursday night class had heard about it...
'Can I quit now?' FEMA chief wrote as Katrina raged.
Rep. Charlie Melancon, whose district south of New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane, posted a sampling of e-mails written by Federal Emergency Management chief Michael Brown on his Web site on Wednesday.
Two days after Katrina hit, Marty Bahamonde, one of the only FEMA employees in New Orleans, wrote to Brown that "the situation is past critical" and listed problems including many people near death and food and water running out at the Superdome. Brown's entire response: "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"
Brown is still on the federal payroll at his $148,000 annual salary.
The e-mails Melancon posted, a sampling of more than 1,000 provided to the House committee ... show Brown making flippant remarks about his responsibilities.
"Can I quit now? Can I come home?" Brown wrote to Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs, the morning of the hurricane.
A few days later, Brown wrote to an acquaintance, "I'm trapped now, please rescue me."
"In the midst of the overwhelming damage caused by the hurricane and enormous problems faced by FEMA, Mr. Brown found time to exchange e-mails about superfluous topics," including "problems finding a dog-sitter," Melancon said.
Melancon said that on August 26, just days before Katrina made landfall, Brown e-mailed his press secretary, Sharon Worthy, about his attire, asking: "Tie or not for tonight? Button-down blue shirt?"
A few days later, Worthy advised Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working."
[On the day of the storm Brown wrote]: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god," according to the congressman.
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