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June 20, 2006

Regional FEMA director gets Snohomish job

Posted by David Postman at 4:13 PM

Remember John Pennington? He's the regional FEMA director who got caught up in Brownie-gate following Hurricane Katrina with a story here about his thin resume for the job, which helped propel him to the No. 2 spot in The New Republic's list of the Bush Hackocracy (subscription required).

Frankly I'm not sure he deserved that dishonor, having carried out the job without crisis, even if he did get the gig on his bona fides of running a mom and pop coffee company and being a Republican state legislator. But he was in the wrong job at the wrong time to have a diploma from a questionable college and no experience in the field.

But a year later it hasn't hurt his ability to get a job. He's been appointed director of Snohomish County's Department of Emergency Management. He's still at FEMA until July 10 and has to be confirmed by the county council for the new job.

County officials told the Herald they were well aware of Pennington's background, including his degree from a diploma mill, and county executive Aaron Reardon says Pennington's "references from state disaster officials are impeccable."

Pennington took some shots because he was a former Republican lawmaker hired by a Republican president with a series of questionable appointments. Now, though, Pennington has that experience and Reardon's hiring decision can't be seen through the same political lens given that the county executive is a Democrat.

(I removed a link here, and comments related to it, because in consultation with my editor it was decided it didn't meet our standards.)

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