Head of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency departing her post

The woman who has led the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving her post, the Baker administration announced Friday.

MEMA director Samantha Phillips' last day will be next Friday, Oct. 29, as she transitions her duties to acting director Dawn Brantley. Brantley is currently MEMA's assistant director for planning and preparedness, a role she has held since January of 2020.

Phillips joined MEMA in February 2019, a little more than a year before Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts around COVID-19. Information was not available Friday around her next steps after her departure from the agency.

"Sam provided critical leadership during the pandemic by procuring life saving equipment and establishing field hospitals and we wish her well," Baker said in a statement. "Dawn Brantley's extensive disaster response experience and the fantastic team at MEMA will serve the Commonwealth well."

Brantley, who has more than 14 years of experience in emergency management, led the state's COVID-19 isolation hotel program, according to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Before joining MEMA, Brantley was the strategic planning branch chief for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and she has also held emergency management roles at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission in Virginia and the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management in Alaska.


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