Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced in a press conference yesterday that he has named Chris Stallings as the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director, and Mike Smith as the GEMA/HS Chief of Staff.
Homer Bryson, the director since December of 2016, is retiring.
“I am honored to assume the role of director of GEMA/HS,” said Stallings in a press release issued by GEMA/HS. “It’s humbling to be entrusted with this responsibility by the Governor, and I am looking forward to continuing the agency’s legacy of protecting the lives and property of the citizens of Georgia.”
Stallings has worked for the Georgia State Patrol since 2008, and most recently was the head of the Dignitary Protection Unit.
Smith served as the Deputy Director of the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority.
GEMA/HS has taken on a large role with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to poll workers and schools.
“There are many challenges we continue to face with COVID-19, all while dealing with hurricane season and other threats,” said Stallings. “It’s a privilege to lead an experienced team that’s dedicated to ensuring Georgia has the resources needed to be prepared for any disaster, and win the fight against COVID-19.”
GEMA/HS describes its role as follows
As part of the Office of the Governor, GEMA/HS works with local, state and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. GEMA/HS’s “Ready Georgia” campaign helps Georgians prepare for disasters. Visit www.gema.ga.gov for more information.