FEMA controversy takes a summer break

FEMA controversy takes a summer break



After asking for a second round of answers, the Maryland delegation to Congress is still evaluating the justifications Federal Emergency Management Administration Director Julius Becton, Jr., has given for a proposed FEMA reorganization.

Becton’s first reply, 19 pages long and delivered in early July, contained a lot of “half answers,” says a spokeswoman for Representative Beverly Byron. Becton proposes to move the U.S. Fire Administration back to Washington from Emmitsburg, Md., and to create a new Office of Training from the Training and Fire Programs Directorate, of which the National Fire Academy is a part.

“The fact that FEMA’s saying any employee who wants to can stay [in Emmitsburg] is a good start,” says the spokeswoman, “but saving jobs isn’t the main thing. The basis of our concern is that the integrity of the fire programs is maintained.”

President Reagan has already signed into law a directive banning the FEMA reorganization until October 1. And further movement on that issue—as well as FEMA’s fiscal 1988 budget— has been delayed while Congress takes its August recess.

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