CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Gov. Jim Justice today appointed G.E. McCabe as Director of the West Virginia Division of Emergency Management.
McCabe has been Deputy Director of Operations at the recently-reorganized agency, which is part of the new West Virginia Department of Homeland Security. But his career of public service extends back more than three decades.
The Governor appointed McCabe on Wednesday, effective immediately, and subject to confirmation by the state Senate. Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Thom Kirk has been the agency’s acting Director.
Among its duties, Emergency Management continues to perform key roles in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including by administering the State Emergency Operations Center.
“G.E. McCabe has dedicated his life’s work to protecting West Virginians and I am honored to elevate him to the position,” Gov. Justice said. “I have complete and total faith that, in this new role, he will continue to give everything he has to protect our state and its people.”
“Due to the pandemic and the continued work on the natural disasters our state has faced over the past decade, it was important for the Governor to select a person who could start the job running,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeff Sandy said. “After countless interviews of current and past employees of the agency, and in consultation with the state’s Emergency Management Council, Mr. McCabe was the obvious selection for me to make to the Governor.”
McCabe’s lengthy tenure of public service includes 25 years with the West Virginia State Police. By the time he retired as a Captain, he had established a strong working relationship with county 911 directors and emergency managers across West Virginia. He similarly developed solid ties with such partners as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That background helped McCabe oversee the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network (SIRN), which has since become part of Emergency Management. As SIRN coordinator for more than 10 years, McCabe was also the Vice Chair of FEMA’s Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group for West Virginia, four other states, and Washington, D.C.
“I have known Director McCabe since our State Police days and he has always exceeded expectations,” said Kirk, himself a former State Police Superintendent. “This appointment will be the catalyst that the new Emergency Management Division needs to move into the final stages of the pandemic and beyond. His rapport with county emergency managers and his knowledge of the process of emergency management is why I had selected him as deputy director over operations and why he will be an invaluable asset to the state.”
A graduate of Marshall University with degrees in business management and police science, McCabe has also completed specialized training from the FBI Instructor Development program and West Virginia State Police Command School, as well as with the National Incident Management System and related areas.
“I am honored to be selected for this position,” McCabe said. “I am looking forward to continuing the work of Deputy Secretary Kirk, during his service as acting Director for the agency, and I am excited to work with our county emergency managers and our federal partners.”
Emergency Management endeavors to ensure the protection of life and property by providing coordination, guidance, support, and assistance to local emergency managers and first responders. The agency manages disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response and recovery efforts throughout the state by coordinating with all responsible government agencies. It also works closely with FEMA to administer assistance programs in the event of a federally declared disaster.
Handing off the agency reins to McCabe, Kirk will continue his main role as Homeland Security Deputy Secretary, as well as that of Department General Counsel and West Virginia’s designated Homeland Security Advisor.
“I would like to point out the excellent job Deputy Secretary Thom Kirk performed in the acting assignment since the agency was reorganized in May 2020,” Sandy said. “His work with FEMA and our state partners will make the division’s path much brighter for our citizens in times of despair.”