AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency is stepping down and returning to the private sector.

Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday praised the service of Bruce Fitzgerald, calling him "a trusted adviser in all areas of emergency management and homeland security."

Fitzgerald, who will leave the post in mid-September, has been with MEMA for more than 14 years. During that time, he worked to improve Maine's preparedness and response to disasters.

LePage said Deputy Director Peter Rogers will serve as acting director until a permanent appointment is made.