Florida’s emergency management chief Jared Moskowitz stepping down

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — State Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, who has helped lead Florida’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and other disasters, is stepping down from his role with the state.

Moskowitz confirmed his departure to Cap News Service reporter Mike Vasilinda on Monday. He later tweeted that his departure was so he could “hit the pause button to be with family.”

“I am reminded on the third anniversary of the [Stoneman Douglas] school shooting in my hometown, along with this pandemic that tomorrow is not guaranteed,” he wrote, adding that, “I’ll be back.”

DeSantis addressed Moskowitz’ departure during a news conference Monday afternoon, praising the work he has done in the department. The governor also acknowledged that the outgoing director’s distance from his family was difficult.

“His family’s almost a world away in some respects. When you’re in Florida, 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 and it weighs,” DeSantis said. “So he’s done well by us. I told him, I said, ‘they should really make you FEMA director’ and maybe they will do that some day.”

DeSantis said Deputy Director Kevin Guthrie will take his spot “when Jared is ready to move on.” Guthrie previously served as the Director of Emergency Management in Pasco County.

Moskowitz did not give an exact timeline for his departure, but said it “won’t be imminent,” and that there would be a “gradual transition.”

Moskowitz was appointed as Director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management by Gov. DeSantis in Jan. 2019 and has led the state’s response to COVID-19, hurricanes Dorian, Isaias, Laura and Sally, among other disasters. He previously served in the Florida House of Representatives, representing the Coral Springs area in northern Broward County, from 2012 to 2019.

His tenure ends two months into the state’s vaccine rollout.

Moskowitz made headlines last month for defending Florida’s vaccine rollout after the White House said half of the state’s allotted vaccine supply was being unused.

“I will note, cause we’re data first, facts first here, that they’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines that they have been given in Florida. So clearly they have a good deal of the vaccine, that supply will need to continue to increase as they are able to effectively reach people across the state,” said White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki.

“At the end of the day, this allocation game, they know it’s a supply issue. Every state knows it’s a supply issue. You know it’s a supply issue,” Moskowitz said. “We could turn on every pharmacy in the state if we had the doses.”

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