5 New FirstNet Board Members Appointed (9/4/14)
Friday, September 05, 2014 | Comments

Five of the 12 First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce have been replaced, including both of the public-safety officials who had served on the board since its inception in 2012. Ed Reynolds was the only former board member up for reappointment who was reappointed.

Charles “Chuck” Dowd, deputy chief of the New York City Police Department, and Paul Fitzgerald, sheriff of Story County, Iowa, were not reappointed. Chris Burbank, chief of police, Salt Lake City (Utah) Police Department, and Richard Stanek, sheriff of Hennepin County, Minnesota, replaced the public-safety officials on the board.

“We had a number of well-qualified candidates from the public-safety community express interest in serving," said a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) spokeswoman. "Because the law spells out a number of requirements for FirstNet board membership, selecting the board was like solving a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. It was important to look at the qualifications of each candidate individually and then consider how all of the individuals fit together as a team. We are excited and confident that the new slate has what it takes to successfully lead FirstNet into its next phase.”

Former Chairman Sam Ginn announced earlier this year he would not seek reappointment. James H. Douglas, former governor of Vermont, replaced Ginn.

"Through my 35 years serving the state of Vermont, I have come to understand first-hand the many challenges that our first responders face every day,” Douglas said. “It's critical that we equip them with the best technological tools and a seamless communications network to do their jobs and save lives. I look forward to serving on the FirstNet board and helping make this nationwide public-safety network a reality."

In addition, F. Craig Farrill, a wireless telecommunications executive who founded inOvate Communications Group and Kodiak Networks, and Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver, stepped down from the board. Frank Plastina, former CEO of Tekelec, and Annise Parker, mayor of the city of Houston were appointed to the board as replacements.

FirstNet is an independent authority within Commerce’s NTIA mandated by Congress to develop, build and operate the first nationwide wireless public-safety broadband network. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 directed that FirstNet be governed by a 15-person board of directors, with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget named as permanent board members. Congress charged the Secretary of Commerce with selecting the remaining 12 members.

“With these new appointments, I’m confident that the FirstNet board has the right combination of public safety, wireless network, and state, local and federal government expertise to oversee FirstNet as it continues its work to get this historic network up and running,” said Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and information and NTIA administrator. “We are grateful that they’ve agreed to take on this challenge, and welcome the fresh thinking and energy that new board members will bring to FirstNet.”

The terms of four FirstNet Board members expired Aug. 20: Sam Ginn, Chuck Dowd, Paul Fitzgerald and Ed Reynolds. In addition, Webb, whose term expires in August 2015, expressed his intent to step down from the board once a replacement to fill his seat was appointed. Farrill, a retired telecommunications executive, resigned from the board last month.

“Public-safety agencies will be well served by appointment of law enforcement officials from the front lines,” said Charles Ramsey, president of Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA). “Chief Burbank brings a distinguished record of achievement to the FirstNet Board and he will be an articulate voice for all police who rely upon emergency communications to protect the public we are sworn to serve.

“Sheriff Stanek is our partner from the major counties, and we are grateful that he will join the FirstNet board to represent county sheriffs and their deputies across the nation.”

In 2013, Barry Boniface, private equity investor and telecommunications executive, replaced William Keever, whose term as a FirstNet board member expired in August 2013. Jeff Johnson, Sue Swenson and Teri Takai were all reappointed to the board for three years in August 2013. Swenson was named chairman of the board in May.

The original 2012 board members are here. A link to the current FirstNet board members, bios and term expiration dates is here.

Your comments are welcome, click here.


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