Biden to nominate NYC's emergency management chief to run FEMA

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- President-elect Joe Biden is nominating New York emergency department commissioner Deanne Criswell to serve as the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator.

Criswell, who also spent more than five years in top posts at FEMA during the Obama administration, is the first woman nominated to head the agency, whose primary responsibility is to coordinate responses to major disasters inside the United States that require federal attention.

She has served as New York City's emergency management commissioner since June 2019.

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Eyewitness News profiled Criswell after she was named to that post.

In her earlier work at FEMA, Criswell served as the leader of one of the agency's National Incident Management Assistance Teams and as a federal coordinating officer. In New York, part of her duties included leading the coordination of the city's emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between her stints at FEMA and in New York, Criswell was a principal at Cadmus Group, a firm that provides homeland security management consulting and training services for federal, state and local government agencies and private sector companies. The company made about $68 million between the time she joined the firm in 2017 and when she left in June 2019, according to a tabulation of contract spending data from the site USASpending.gov.

She also served as the head of the Office of Emergency Management for the city of Aurora, Colorado. Criswell also served in the Colorado Air National Guard, including 21 years as a firefighter and deputy fire chief with deployments to Qatar, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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