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FirstNet seeks new board members

Fierce Mobile Government
By Zach Rausnitz
May 14, 2014

Prospective members of the board of FirstNet can now write in to express interest in joining.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, within which FirstNet is the independent authority working to build a nationwide broadband network for first responders, announced (pdf) the opportunity May 8, and it's open until May 23. The board members are paid.

By law, four individuals, including the attorney general and homeland security secretary, serve on the board permanently. Twelve board members hold nonpermanent appointments, and four of them are expiring this August.

The commerce secretary can reappoint them though, since members are allowed to serve two consecutive three-year terms.

The board was originally appointed in August 2012. To stagger the end of their tenures, some members were appointed to serve for only one or two years, instead of the full three.

Sam Ginn, the board's chair and a retired telecom executive, is among those whose terms are set to conclude in August. The three others are Chuck Dowd, a former New York Police Department official; Paul Fitzgerald, the sheriff for a county in Iowa; and Ed Reynolds, another retired telecom executive.

Fitzgerald, notably, has been the subject of a public records lawsuit related to whether the county where he is the sheriff can release emails sent by Fitzgerald from his county email account even though he sent them in his capacity as a FirstNet board member.

The law that created FirstNet dictates a few quotas for the board. Three members must have worked as public safety professionals, and three must represent the interests of states and localities. Additionally, the law calls for geographic diversity, as well as a mix of urban and rural representatives.

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