Governor David A. Paterson today announced the appointment of John R. Gibb as Acting Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). The DHSES was created with the passage of the Governor's Public Protection budget bill last week by the State Legislature. The legislation goes into effect today.
"John Gibb is a proven leader with 28 years of experience in the fields of homeland security, emergency management and emergency services," Governor Paterson said. "John and the entire executive team bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the new Division which will coordinate and enhance our State's preparedness and response capabilities. This merger is in keeping with my commitments to not only streamline State government, but also to create a public safety agency that will provide one-stop access for grants, training, and emergency preparedness and response programs."
The Governor also announced the executive team of the newly created Division: James M. Sherry, Executive Deputy Commissioner and Director of the Office of Counter Terrorism; Andrew X. Feeney, Director of the Office of Emergency Management; State Fire Administrator Floyd A. Madison, Director of the Office of Fire Prevention and Control; and Thomas D. Smith, Director of the Office of Cyber Security. Still to be named is the Director of the Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communications.
The Division was created through the consolidation of the offices of Homeland Security (OHS), Emergency Management (SEMO), Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), the Statewide Interoperability Program (SIPO) and Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination (CSCIC). They will continue as specialized offices under the new umbrella agency. This consolidation will allow the State to operate a single, multi-purpose agency focused on first responders and public safety. Collectively, the new Division will be responsible for analysis, information sharing, physical and cyber security, disaster preparedness and relief, interoperable and emergency communications, fire safety, and emergency response.
John R. Gibb, who began his State career in 1987, has served as the Director of SEMO since December 2005. He has coordinated the State's response and recovery efforts for 10 federally-declared disasters. Mr. Gibb also had numerous operational assignments in response to disasters and emergencies, including serving as the Deputy State Coordinating Officer for the World Trade Center response where he coordinated State operations in New York City following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Prior to returning to SEMO in 2005, Mr. Gibb served with the New York State Office of Homeland Security and was the Executive Director of the New York State Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Task Force.
James M. Sherry has served as Acting Director of OHS since April. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Staff responsible for oversight of the office's daily operational activities. Previously, he served as Special Advisor for Public Safety in the Executive Chamber, where he worked closely with the State Police Counterterrorism unit, SEMO, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the Office of Cyber Security, Division of Criminal Justice Services, and security officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Sherry served as the first Chief Counsel to the then newly established Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, where he guided the passage of important new legislation on chemical, energy and water security. The Committee also undertook an examination of hurricane readiness in the State, leading to increased coordination, planning and citizen preparedness efforts. Mr. Sherry graduated cum laude from St. John's University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Finance, and earned his J.D. from St. John's University School of Law. He has been a member of the Mineola Fire Department since 1988.
Andrew X. Feeney has served as First Deputy Director at SEMO since 1993, and is responsible for oversight and direction of New York State's emergency management programs and policies. He has also served as Deputy State Coordinating Officer, managing State and Federal activities for more than 22 Presidentially declared disasters, including the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and numerous natural disasters. Prior to joining SEMO, Mr. Feeney worked for five years in the New York State Executive Chamber, serving as an advisor to the Governor on issues pertaining to emergency management and disasters, including the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist attack. A 26-year career public servant in New York State government, Mr. Feeney has also held positions in public information and policy analysis.
Floyd A. Madison was appointed New York State Fire Administrator in August 2007, to head the New York State Office for Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC). Prior to that, Mr. Madison served as the Fire Chief of the Rochester Fire Department from 1999-2007, and had 30 years of service at the Washington, D.C. Fire & EMS Department, where he served as the Assistant Chief of Operations and the Deputy Fire Chief of the Firefighting Division and the Fleet Maintenance Division. He was recognized as the Fireman of the Year in 2002 by the United Church Ministry Inc. He received an Associate's Degree in Fire Science Administration from the University of the District of Columbia, and he has been specially trained in the fields of Government Contract Administration and Hazardous Waste Emergency Response.
Thomas D. Smith has served as Assistant Deputy Director and Counsel of CSCIC since 2007. In that position, he assisted in the agency's policy direction; managed the agency's large-scale procurements; coordinated the agency's legislative program; and served as Co-Chair of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center's Procurement Workgroup. He also served as the agency's Ethics Officer and Records Appeals Officer. Prior to joining CSCIC, Mr. Smith served as a supervising attorney at the State Office for Technology where he oversaw the legal team for the State Data Center and served as legislative liaison. From 1986-2000, he worked in the New York State Office of the State Comptroller, where he served as an associate attorney in the Division of Legal Services/Municipal Law Section and the Division of Legal Services/Investments.
Governor Paterson also announced that William F. Pelgrin, Director of CSCIC since its establishment in 2002, would leave State government to assume leadership of a national not-for-profit organization, the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Multi-State ISAC). Recognized in President Obama's 60-Day Cyberspace Policy Review, the Multi-State ISAC is focused on improving cyber security for state, local and territorial governments across the nation. The Multi-State ISAC has representation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as local governments and U.S. Territories.
"Mr. Pelgrin has had a long and distinguished career serving the people of New York State, and has always maintained a focus on thinking creatively to identify solutions and working collaboratively to effect positive change," Governor Paterson said. "Through his dedication and vision, he has significantly improved our cyber security posture and positioned New York State as a leader in cyber security. Mr. Pelgrin has made us more secure and better prepared to meet the cyber challenges facing all New Yorkers."