NY's New Preparedness Director Tries to Learn Lessons of 9/11
In a speech at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy this week, newly appointed New York State Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni discussed the challenges he will face and the preparedness priorities he plans to address this year. The job makes Balboni responsible for day-to-day management of homeland security affairs, emergency preparedness and response, and law enforcement. Balboni, a former Republican state senator who crossed party lines to join the administration of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, says he was deeply affected by 9/11 (he lost colleagues and friends and his sister had an appointment at the Trade Center that morning) and will bring vigor and bipartisan credentials to the vital post. "[9/11] left an indelible imprint on my mind," Balboni is quoted in NY Newsday. "I'm very focused on the issues and on the job at hand. Do I have the people around me? Do I have the information? Do I have the relationships? And if I don't, I have to develop them or get out."
Balboni laid out
s of focus for 2007
- Improved monitoring of mass transit and rail lines.
- Completing a statewide interoperable communication system for first responders.
- Developing new networks to convey emergency information to the public.
- Increased focus on protection plans for the Port of N.Y. and N.J., as well as on
"resiliency planning," to "imagine the unthinkable and then plan for it."
- Improving information flow among local, state and federal law enforcement and counter-terror agencies.
He also wants to beef up security at the Mohawk Indian reservation that borders Canada and upstate New York, as well as lobby the Department of Homeland Security for a larger share of federal grant money for preparedness.