Posted by Diane Farsetta on January 16, 2008

TV coverage of the FEMA press conferenceIf the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had used his new company's "communications management systems, the ill-fated press conference about the California wildfires would not have happened," former FEMA public affairs director John "Pat" Philbin told O'Dwyer's. After an October 2007 press conference where FEMA staffers posed as reporters, asking questions of their boss, Philbin was denied a planned promotion to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He was recently hired by PIER Systems, as a senior vice president and head of their East Coast operations. In a statement, PIER (which stands for "public information emergency response") said of the FEMA fake news conference: "It was clear to us that Pat became aware of the planning errors while things were happening. ... He accepted responsibility ... and he has paid a very high price." PIER's clients include BP, Shell, Allstate and the Office of Homeland Security.