Vermont FEMA Office Closing 2 Years After Irene

December 22, 2013

Vermont’s Federal Emergency Management Agency office closed its doors last Friday, Dec. 20, after more than two years of helping the state recover from flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene, but the agency will continue to process property buyouts and reimbursements through its Boston office.

More than two years after Tropical Storm Irene, FEMA’s closing up shop in Vermont left many in the state both frustrated by the agency’s bureaucracy and grateful for the $500 million in federal aid that helped the state rebuild.

Four months after the flood, Sue Minter, now the state’s deputy transportation secretary, became the state’s Irene Recovery Officer. She said that soon after taking the position she realized Vermont needed to form a close relationship with this big federal agency.

“With all of the crises that we were managing of every minute of every day, we hadn’t really yet turned our attention to being the partner FEMA needed us to be,” she said.

Some individuals felt they got misleading information from FEMA, Vermont Public Radio reported.

FEMA’s official in Vermont, Mark Landry, said the agency had to continue to improve its training and change its culture.

“We shouldn’t be asking people to adjust to the bureaucracy,” he said. “We should adjust the bureaucracy to the people.”

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