Florida’s disaster chief is leaving the DeSantis administration

Jared Moskowitz, Florida's outgoing director of emergency management, stands to the far right of Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press briefing at the state's emergency response center on Sept. 5, 2019. Credit: governor's office

Jared Moskowitz, Florida’s top emergency manager, is leaving the job two years after Gov. Ron DeSantis hired him, citing the difficulty of performing the demanding job while his two young children live hundreds of miles away in Broward County.

DeSantis confirmed the move during a news conference on Monday afternoon, saying Moskowitz has “done a fantastic job” and deserves much of the credit for Florida’s response to hurricanes and COVID-19.

“It’s been two years. He’s worked extremely hard and his family is almost a world away in some respects,” DeSantis continued. “Many of you know, Tallahassee down to Broward, it’s not like you can just hop on a plane all the time and get down there. It’s a long drive.”

“I told him, I said. ‘They should really make you FEMA director,’ and maybe they will do that someday,” the governor said.

Moskowitz explained his reasoning in an interview with the USA Today Network. “My kids are 7 and 4. When I started this job, they were 5 and 2,” he said. “I’ve been in this job for 50 percent of my younger one’s life,” he said.

Replacing Moskowitz as director of the Division of Emergency Management is the deputy director, Kevin Guthrie, DeSantis said.

“I have a lot of confidence in Kevin. He’s been in the emergency management space for a long time.”


This report first appeared on the website of the Florida Phoenix, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to coverage of state government and politics from Tallahassee.

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