Monday, June 18, 2018

Governor Appoints New MEMA Director

Governor Phil Bryant issued the following statement. 


Gov. Phil Bryant announced today that he has appointed retired Col. Gregory S. Michel director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.The appointment is effective immediately. Michel takes over for J.W. Ledbetter, Gov. Bryant’s senior criminal justice policy advisor, who has overseen MEMA operations since last month, when former director Lee Smithson resigned.
Michel began his military career in February 1988, when he enlisted into the Mississippi Army National Guard with the 1-155th Infantry Battalion as a Combat Medical Specialist in his hometown of McComb. He was commissioned as an Infantry Officer through the Army ROTC program at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1991. He spent his first 10 years as a traditional guardsman where he mobilized in support of Operation Desert Storm and completed three rotations through the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, Calif. During this period, he served in numerous leadership positions in the Infantry Battalion to include Rifle Platoon Leader, Support Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Company Commander.
“Colonel Michel brings a wealth of experience to MEMA as we enter the heart of hurricane season,” Gov. Bryant said. “He served well the people of Mississippi and our nation for almost three decades as a member of our National Guard, defending our freedom and ensuring our national security at home and abroad. I am certain that service will continue in his new role, and I am delighted he has accepted this appointment.”
In May of 1998, Michel entered active duty with the National Guard. In 2004, he deployed to Iraq with the 1-155th Infantry Battalion as the Battalion Executive Officer serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  
His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and numerous others.
“I am both humbled and honored to accept this assignment from Governor Bryant as Director, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency,” Michel said. “I love Mississippi and the people that make Mississippi what it is. Mississippi is home. To have responsibility for their safety in times of emergency is significant, and I do not take that responsibility lightly. I am proud to serve Mississippi in this role and look forward to working with the great team of men and women at MEMA.”
Michel earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1992, a master’s degree from Touro University in 1994 and an additional master’s from the U.S. Army War College in 2016.
He served as president of the National Guard Association of Mississippi in 2014-2015. He has served as regional chairman of the Training Center Commander’s Advisory Council since 2015. Michel is a 2013 graduate of Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi and is past chairman of the American Heart Association’s Forrest-Lamar County Heart Walk. He has served as board advisor of the Better Life Foundation since 2011.
Michel and his wife, Rachel, live in Ridgeland. They have one daughter, Anna Morgan.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bryant is on a roll with these top notch appointments! Great man for the job!

Anonymous said...

So what is his experience in emergency management? Sounds like a good man, and I appreciate his service to our country. However, he lacks the experience necessary for this job.

Anonymous said...

....and they can serve two more years until Tater puts his political hacks/lackeys in place.

Anonymous said...

However, he lacks the experience necessary for this job

So does Antar Lumumba.

Anonymous said...

He's a Republican and USM grad. Plus, Fisher was unavailable and Fitch declined.

Anonymous said...

10:17, and just what "experience" do you think this job requires?

Once you define that, check the pay scale and tell me who with your "required experience" would take this job.

Next?

Anonymous said...

The primary requirement is that an appointee have a degree from USM, and he has it.

W.L. Ledbetter said...

J.W. Ledbetter is from the smart side of our family. He is the second to go to college after myself. Uncle Crack Ledbetter was very proud of both of us.

Anonymous said...

@10:17 probably as much or more than Bennie Thompson has being the ranking member on the Homeland Security committee.

Anonymous said...

My my JJ let folks talk about Trump on another topic and folks are still testie.

Anonymous said...

@10:54 you are 100% correct -- that's the myopic lens through which Bryant views qualifications. But, at least a stint as a "deputy sheriff" isn't a requirement too! If one lists Bryant's appointments, it's painfully obvious that a USM diploma is a required qualification for most appointments. I guess it's the old saying, to the (USM) victor go the spoils (of appointments) ....

Louis LeFleur said...

Nearly everyone in emergency management comes from a military background. Given his background and education, he'll be just fine, and probably a lot better than that.

Anonymous said...

Absolute slap in the face to those that care about and train in the profession of emergency management.

Anonymous said...

@ June 18, 2018 at 11:36 AM

"@10:17 probably as much or more than Bennie Thompson has being the ranking member on the Homeland Security committee."

That is a policy position? Bennie has the resources and ability to go and ask questions, he is not running the damn agency.

Many of MEMA's positions are filled by first responders - from military, parapolice, local police, etc etc

He meets the minimum qualifications, but he probably wasn't the best candidate available.

Since Katrina, there are specialist out there that have trained and prepared for positions of this magnitude on the local, state, and federal level; Dewey clearly went with what was important to him, where they attended college and if he liked them. Just like his DHS appointments, he missed the mark again, but he only has a year to go, so what does he care.

Anonymous said...

There are several Certified Emergency Managers in this state that are much more qualified. NO offense, but an officer in the National Guard does not qualify at all for this position. Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly doesn't understand the job. Also most people in emergency management do not come from a military background, the two areas could not be further apart.

Anonymous said...

His military background coupled with this job assignment will mean nothing more than a superb ability to handle the disbursement of bags of ice at major emergency centers across the affected area.

If you've ever watched that being done, it requires an inordinate ability to direct traffic, instruct gendarmes in crowd control and make sure the first bags off the trailer are the ones in front.

If he needs assistance in dispatching ten pound bags of ice, General Leon Augustus Collins, retired on PERS, will be on hand, for a small fee, to assist in refresher training.

Common Sense said...

There are several states whose Departments of Public Safety (or state police) are responsible for emergency management...because isn't emergency management a critical public safety issue? That being said:

1. Ledbetter should have been appointed DPS Commissioner.
2. DPS should absorb MEMA and take advantage of the savings from shared services\contracting.
3. The Highway Patrol should be put in its place as a SUB agency of DPS.
4. Rusty Barnes should be re-hired to clean the toilets at DPS HQ.

Anonymous said...

I will admit that I voted for Uncle Phil twice and he's been a good governor for the most part, but he has thumbed his nose at the local EMAs for his entire tenure as gov. The proof can be plainly seen in his actions. The only way to have him as your advocate is to work for DPS or be a friend or family member of a donor. I wish MCDEMA could get it's act together and be the statewide voice for Emergency Management that it is capable of. I'm not bad mouthing MCDEMA, they are an awesome organization it's just hard to bring 82 separate county government organizations together to pool their collective political muscle. He had plenty of candidates he could have pulled from the Fire Service or Emergency Managers. He missed the chance to unite state first responders by putting one of their own in there and he blew it!!!! I would love to know if he even had the common decency to seek guidance from anyone truly in the EM community.

Anonymous said...

@4:41 You crack me up!! Are you trying to get Fishers job in 18 months?

Anonymous said...

Common Sense: Please list one or two of those states where the state police are responsible for disaster emergency management. And don't count roadblock patrol, traffic reversal or transporting a governor at 90 mph for a photo op.

Anonymous said...

1:24 - here are four: New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota, Vermont. They are either directly run by state police or are located within the state's department of public safety. They handle the entire EM portfolio; including planning, exercise, grants, recovery, etc.

Anonymous said...

4:31: How many natural disasters have they suffered in the past fifteen years? Sure, you can put traffic cops in charge of ice delivery in case there's a windstorm in Vermont, but....

Anonymous said...

5:26; you're kidding, right?

How about Superstorm Sandy (New Jersey), Tropical Storm Irene (Vermont), I-35 Collapse (Minnesota). In fact, New Jersey introduced intelligence-led emergency response when it leveraged its fusion center to more effectively direct the distribution of commodities and assistance.

Anonymous said...

6:44 Horseshit. NJ took over a year to process my elderly parents' home repair. The contractors were fine but the state bureaucrats were horrible.

The I-35 mess was handled extremely well. I drove over that bridge twice daily for three years - very scary to see the mess up there.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the Mabus and Barbour years. Both of them ignored trained and experienced professionals and staffed agencies with hand-picked favorites who had no knowledge of the agencies or the systems they were given the role of leading. Pure politics and favoritism.

But, yes, let's point to New Jersey F*Ups as success! And a two day storm in Vermont over the past sixty years? Really?

Anonymous said...

Well, needless to say, consensus on this thread says Dewey fudged this hire and he could have done better.

Kingfish, mark the damn calendar, a thread where this many Mississippians agree on something

That's a good question to ask the candidates running for Governor, who do you plan on putting in key positions if and when you are elected?

Anonymous said...

Are you familiar with the term GOMAR? 3- Star letter of reprimand while assigned to NGB in DC. Found negligent and required to repay misuse of government property under AR 15-6 while assigned as Commander of Camp Shelby. Try this one, used US Government Trailer to haul a show motorcycle for private foundation. Who vetted this guy and gave him the keys. Do your homework people!

Dee Ray said...

Almost nobody outside of a handful who were in the know would have any way of knowing what 9:19 posted above. Surely Bryant was aware of it, but chose to overlook it. Like he has overlooked mismanagement at DPS and Medicaid for his entire two terms.

"In military contexts, a formal letter of reprimand can be career-ending, even without prescribed punishments, because it makes it difficult to secure advancements in rank or to enjoy the respect of one's peers."

I see new MEMA windbreakers and golf shirts in the governor's immediate future.

Anonymous said...

Uh Oh...I was waiting on the last couple of comments......

Anonymous said...

Uh oh is right...agency is broke???? They beg for for increased funding from legislators....however a visit to the agency you will find new offices being built for apparent no reason and 10 thousand dollars handedout in raises to certain individuals with less than a year service with the right connections (as it is described at the agency)If this is going on this quickly after his appointment the neglect and mismanagement of funds will get worse and more serious....stay tune....

Anonymous said...

Not only that but demoting people of color with salary decreases while demoting whites and not taking their salaries

Anonymous said...

FEMA is not the only one using promotions and raises ($15,000.00 to one individual) for extracurricular activities...Care to explain these promotions and high end raises MEMA 1 or do you know about these promotions and heavy raises? Was the leftovers from the previous director pull this over on you? Got watch those leftovers they will spoil your job quickly...

Anonymous said...

So the new director still have all those white retired national guard boys surrounding him...MEMA Executive Office is all white bread...Wait they do have the black lady in the Executive office trying to throw people off..they can’t be so obvious they are racist! I still can’t believe the one black lady on the Executive team allows herself to be used to protect their racist asses.
To the above mention of affairs for pay raises....I hear letters to a wife and/or a husband and pictures to the governor can help bring things to a headliner.

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