You Messed Up. Now Here's Your Promotion.

By Al Kamen
Thursday, November 8, 2007; 4:00 PM

On Oct. 23, the day of FEMA's now infamous phony news conference, the agency's former external affairs chief, Pat Philbin, announced plans to promote a number of people in the shop as part of an effort to build a "new FEMA."

Cindy Taylor, deputy director of public affairs, was to become head of a new Private Sector Office, Philbin said in his e-mail to staff members. And Mike Widomski would move up to replace Taylor as deputy director of public affairs.

Loop Fans might recall that both of them, posing as reporters, asked questions of acting Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson. After our item, and an investigation of what Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called "one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government," we're happy to announce that Taylor and Widomski appear to have been disciplined, FEMA-style.

They've received the promotions they were in line to get.

So, according to the External Affairs Weekly report for this week, Taylor is director of the Private Sector Division, and Widomski is deputy director of public affairs.

Heck of a job.

Or maybe not. Russ Knocke, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, calls Friday to say the FEMA newsletter was in error. Both Taylor and Widomski are in those new jobs only in an "acting" capacity, he says.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company