Benjamin Appointed FirstNet Authority Board Chair, New Members Announced
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | Comments

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the appointment of 11 people to serve on the board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority). Raimondo also named Stephen Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, as the FirstNet Authority’s new board chair.

The appointed members, along with current board member Karima Holmes, bring the FirstNet Board to a full complement, with 12 non-permanent members selected by the Department of Commerce and three permanent seats occupied by the U.S. attorney general, the secretary of homeland security and the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Board oversees activities to ensure that the FirstNet Authority and commercial partner AT&T develop, build and operate a nationwide public-safety broadband network that will best equip first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.

“I am proud to announce the selection of these highly qualified board members, whose experience in public service and the private sector will ensure that the FirstNet Authority continues to provide the world-class communications network our emergency responders need,” Raimondo said. “I thank these individuals for their willingness to join the board and guide the FirstNet Authority in its mission to save lives and keep our communities safe. Their backgrounds and experience reflect the diversity of FirstNet network users and will enable the board to look to the future for investment opportunities and sound financial management to maintain the only public-private nationwide public-safety broadband network.”

Secretary Raimondo selected seven new members to the FirstNet Board for three-year terms:
• Board Chair Benjamin is the mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. He is the former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, former president of the African American Mayors Association, vice chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors, co-chair of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and former member of the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee.
• Alexandra Fernandez Navarro of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is commissioner of the Puerto Rico Public Service Regulatory Board, member of the FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and member of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) State Broadband Leaders Network.
• Sheriff Kristin Graziano of Charleston County, South Carolina is a member of the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCCA).
• Sheriff Peter Koutoujian of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, is president of the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCCA), former president of the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association and a former representative in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
• Warren Mickens of Colorado is retired vice president of CenturyLink Communications and former vice president of Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent.
• Sylvia Moir of Arizona is retired police chief of the Tempe (Arizona) Police Department; former interim police chief of Napa, California; past president of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF); and chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Community Policing Committee.
• Jocelyn Moore of New York is a consultant and venture capitalist. She has been on the board of directors of DraftKings, a former executive vice president (EVP) of the National Football League, former deputy staff director of the Senate Finance Committee, and former deputy chief of staff policy director and legislative director for Senator John D. Rockefeller IV.

In addition, Raimondo reappointed four board members to serve in second three-year terms:
• Richard Carrizzo is chief of the Southern Platte Fire Protection District in Kansas City, Missouri, and immediate past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).
• Brian Crawford of Louisiana is the executive vice president (EVP) and chief administrative officer of Willis-Knighton Health System and retired fire chief and city administrator.
• Billy Hewes is the mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi. He is a member of the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) National Park System Advisory Board and a former Mississippi State senator.
• Paul R. Patrick is the division director, family health and preparedness of the Utah Department of Health and past president of the National Association of State EMS Officials.

“Mayor Benjamin is a talented and experienced leader who will bring strong stewardship and vision to the board,” said Raimondo. “I am confident that, under Mayor Benjamin’s leadership, the new board will guide the FirstNet Authority as it continues to deploy around the country and serve our first responders,” Secretary Raimondo said. “I also want to thank our outgoing chair Robert ‘Tip’ Osterthaler for his service to the FirstNet Authority and the public-safety community. Tip has been a valuable member of the board, and the FirstNet Authority has built a strong foundation with the support of his leadership and dedication.”

Five others have completed their service on the board: former Board Chair Edward Horowitz, Network and Technology Committee Chair Neil Cox, Welton Chase, Matt Slinkard and David Zolet.

“NTIA congratulates the new board members and welcomes them to the team. Under the leadership of Mayor Steve Benjamin, FirstNet is poised to continue to deliver for first responders,” said Evelyn Remaley, acting assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. “I also want to thank all of the outgoing board members for their tireless service and commitment. They led the FirstNet Authority through a time of incredible growth and ensured that it is well positioned to serve public safety for many years to come.”

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On 11/3/21, Manuel A Alvarez said:
Looks good but I think ATT is getting too much involved in these matters when they have problems in covering telephone customers in several areas. Security is another problem with big challenges. I do hope it works


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