SPRINGFIELD –To ensure municipal leaders have a strong voice in the state’s homeland security and disaster planning efforts, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the creation of the Elected Officials Working Group for Homeland Security. Fifteen mayors from throughout Illinois participated in the group’s first meeting today in Springfield.
“Preparing for potential terrorism can’t be done in a vacuum – it takes cooperation and interaction between local, state and federal entities,” Blagojevich said. “The Illinois Terrorism Task Force’s membership, with representatives from more than 60 agencies, organizations and groups, reflects this principle and our nationally-recognized homeland security programs are a tribute to this cooperative effort. The Elected Officials Working Group for Homeland Security will further strengthen the vital lines of communication between the Task Force and local leaders.”
The Elected Officials Working Group for Homeland Security has three main goals. First, the group will help the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) get direct input from local leaders on vital issues like homeland security funding and disaster planning. Second, the group will allow the ITTF to provide up-to-the-minute information to municipal leaders about homeland security efforts in Illinois. And third, the Elected Officials Working Group will help the ITTF organize efforts to better prepare and train municipal leaders for how to effectively deal with critical incidents in their communities throughout the state.
“In Illinois, we’ve taken a comprehensive approach to homeland security in which we work with local responders and other local officials to develop response capabilities across the state,” said Mike Chamness, ITTF chairman. “For this to be as effective as possible, it’s very important that we know the concerns, needs and resources in each community, which requires that we establish and maintain a two-way line of communications with local officials. This new working group will make that happen.”
Chamness also announced the appointment of Richton Park Village President Rick Reinbold as co-chair of the ITTF’s Elected Officials Committee. Reinbold also serves as chairman of the Terrorism Task Force for the Metropolitan Mayors’ Caucus. Reinbold joins Ken Alderson, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League, as committee co-chair.
Reinbold said he is honored to have the opportunity to be part of the state’s homeland security efforts. “As a village president and from my work on the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus’ Terrorism Task Force, I understand the concerns elected officials have related to terrorism preparedness. It’s extremely critical that local officials are involved in the state’s planning and equally important that they are kept aware of what’s being done that impacts their communities.”
Local leaders taking part in the meeting either in person or through a representative include:
Mayor Irv Bock--Hanover Park
Mayor Robert L. Butler--Marion
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer--Danville
Mayor James Gitz--Freeport
President Ramiro Gonzalez--Cicero
Mayor Richard Hyde--Waukegan
Mayor Stan Leach--Moline
Mayor Gail Mitchell--Fairview Heights
Mayor Joe Moreno--East Moline
Mayor George Pradel--Naperville
Mayor David Ransburg--Peoria
Mayor Tod Satterthwaite--Urbana
Mayor Mark Schwiebert--Rock Island
Mayor David Stover--Aurora
Mayor Mick Wisslead--Macomb