Former FEMA Deputy Director Hired at NASA HQ

Editor's note: NASA Headquarters has a new political appointee in its employ: Patrick Rhode. He'll be working on the 9th floor.

For those of you who followed the post-Katrina management fiasco at FEMA you may recall hearing his name. Rhode served as FEMA Director Michael Brown's Chief of Staff and later, as Acting Deputy Director of FEMA. I am sure the folks at Stennis and Michoud will be thrilled to learn this.

Editor's update: Patrick Rhode is now listed in NASA's online phonebook as a "senior advisor" to "Organization: A" (Office of the Administrator)

What follows are a few media excerpts from that time:

President Bush Appoints Arkansas Native As Chief Of Staff At The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA

"Before joining FEMA, Rhode was associate administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration and White House liaison for the Department of Commerce. His first position with the Bush Administration was as special assistant to the President and deputy director of National Advance Operations, a position he assumed in January 2001. Previously, Rhode served as deputy director of National Advance Operations for the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign, in Austin, Texas. His other professional credits include serving in communications and public affairs roles in the Texas state government and the private sector."

Welcome to the Hackocracy, The New Republic

"Never fear, though: Rhode has covered disasters--as a TV anchor for local network affiliates in Alabama and Arkansas, in which capacity he developed "an acute interest in what responders do in times of crises." Perhaps not acute enough. He recently said that FEMA's response to Katrina was "probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country's history."

FEMA packed with W's pals, NY Daily News

"Even if Bush were to fire embattled and suddenly invisible FEMA Director Michael Brown over his handling of Hurricane Katrina, the bureaucrat immediately below him is no disaster professional, either. While Brown ran horse shows in his last private-sector job, FEMA's No. 2 man, deputy director and chief of staff Patrick Rhode, was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign and White House. He also did short stints at the Commerce Department and Small Business Administration."

Leaders Lacking Disaster Experience, Washington Post

"Rhode, Brown's chief of staff, is a former television reporter who came to Washington as advance deputy director for Bush's Austin-based 2000 campaign and then the White House. He joined FEMA in April 2003 after stints at the Commerce Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration."

FEMA e-mails expose problems in Katrina response, Federal Times

"On the evening of Aug. 27, FEMA Chief of Staff Patrick Rhode wrote to Brown, "I shouldn't, but am feeling like we are doing most of the right things at this point in prep."

Dubya TV: Bush Is Really Fond of Broadcasters, 30 April 2006, Broadcasting & Cable

"Then there are former NBC cameraman Bob DeServi and ex-Fox News producer Greg Jenkins, and Patrick Rhode, who presumably learned all he needed to know about disaster management as a news anchor in Arkansas and Alabama before he became chief of staff for FEMA washout Michael "Brownie" Brown at the emergency agency."

Exposed by Katrina, FEMA's flaws were years in making, USA Today

"But that's only the tip of FEMA's management problems. Brown's top deputy, Patrick Rhode, is equally inexperienced, according to his resume. Rhode worked for Bush's 2000 campaign and for the White House doing advance operations."

Former FEMA Director Brown Disputed Katrina Levee Breaches, E-Mails Show, Fox News

"Brown's own schedule was booked with media interviews in the days immediately before and after the storm. At 6:21 a.m. the day Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, Brown was prepping for an interview and e-mailing with his then-deputy, Patrick Rhode.

"Yea, sitting in the chair, putting mousse in my hair," Brown e-mailed Rhode.

"Me too!" Rhode replied."

S. Rept. 109-322 -- Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared

"In response to one of Senator Collins' Questions for the Record submitted aft er Secretary Chertoff's appearance before the Committee on February 15, 2006, the Secretary was critical of just such a reliance on e-mails to communicate important information. Specifically, he criticized FEMA Acting Deputy Director Patrick Rhode for using e-mail to provide a report of the Bahamonde overflight to Deputy Secretary Jackson: "E-mails are not the most appropriate way of conveying urgent or important information, especially late at night. Instead, the right course would have been to notify the HSOC, which reaches both the Deputy Secretary and me by telephone at any time of day or night." Source: Questions for the Record of Sec. Chertoff, Senate Committee hearing, Feb. 15, 2006, p. 10; "

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 11, 2007 12:54 PM.

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