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Brown Steps Down from Helm of FEMA

Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown has resigned, three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Brown had been harshly criticized for what many consider to be FEMA's sluggish, disorganized response to the Gulf Coast disaster.

The White House confirmed that another FEMA official, former fire chief David Paulison, has been tapped as acting director. Paulison currently leads the agency's office of preparedness.

President Bush received news of Brown's resignation while making his closest inspection yet of the storm-ravaged region, touring New Orleans.

Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff removed Brown from oversight of the cleanup and recovery effort, replacing him with Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen.

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Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues.