Thursday, Nov. 4


Elected Officials Working Group for Homeland Security formed     Send a link to a friend

Group will increase communication, interaction between local officials and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force

[NOV. 4, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Elected Officials Working Group for Homeland Security has been formed to ensure that municipal leaders have a strong voice in the state's homeland security and disaster planning efforts. Fifteen mayors from throughout Illinois participated yesterday in the group's first meeting in Springfield.

"Preparing for potential terrorism can't be done in a vacuum -- it takes cooperation and interaction between local, state and federal entities," Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Wednesday in announcing the creation of the group. "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 get direct input from local leaders on vital issues like homeland security funding and disaster planning. Second, the group will allow the Illinois Terrorism Task Force 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 task force 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, chairman of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. "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."

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Chamness also announced the appointment of Richton Park Village President Rick Reinbold as co-chair of the Elected Officials Committee of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. Reinbold also serves as chairman of the Terrorism Task Force of 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," he said. "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 included the following:

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

[News release from the governor's office]

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