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Brown serving as consultant to FEMA

Ousted chief says he should have pushed for federal troops

From Ed Henry
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A congressional panel on Tuesday is expected to scrutinize the decision to keep ousted Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown on the federal payroll.

Brown told congressional investigators Monday that he is being paid as a consultant to help FEMA assess what went wrong in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to a senior official familiar with the meeting.

Brown also said he wished he had pushed more forcefully -- and earlier -- for federal troops to be brought in to restore order in New Orleans, the official told CNN.

Brown's comments were made to investigators for Rep. Tom Davis, R-Virginia. Davis leads a House select committee probing the federal, state and local response to Katrina, and Brown is scheduled to appear before the panel Tuesday in a highly anticipated appearance.

Congressional aides told CNN that given all of the questions already raised about Brown's qualifications for the FEMA job, the decision to keep him on the payroll for about a month will be examined at Tuesday's hearing.

Brown resigned September 12 after two weeks of intense criticism of FEMA's response to Katrina, which killed more than 1,000 when it struck near the Louisiana-Mississippi state line August 29.

The storm devastated Mississippi beach towns and left most of New Orleans flooded when the city's protective levees failed at several points.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA's parent agency, said last week that Brown would be paid for about a month for "transitional purposes." The spokesman, Russ Knocke, said he did not know how much Brown was being paid.

Brown's 2004 salary was $145,600, according to the Plum Book, a congressional reference guide to executive branch salaries.

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