PA Homeland Security Director Resigns Amidst Activist Monitoring Controversy

Rendell: Director ‘made a very significant mistake in judgement’

Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell yesterday announced the resignation of James F. Powers, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security.

“I have accepted the resignation of Col. Powers, effective Oct. 8, 2010. I do so out of our mutual concern that the function of homeland security is too important to be subject to the distractions resulting from one operation, or one man. Jim’s resignation is indicative of his 30-year career of service to our nation, where he always put country before self,” the Governor said.

Editor’s Note: The text of Director Powers’ resignation letter follows.

Sept. 30, 2010

The Honorable Edward G. Rendell
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

The Hon. Robert P. French
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
2605 Interstate Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Dear Governor Rendell:

It is with deep regret that I resign as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of Homeland Security Director. Working with our county and municipality public safety stakeholders, owners and operators of our private/public critical infrastructure, and Commonwealth agencies since June 2006 has provided unlimited opportunities for working with so many professionals at so many levels of government. Implementing the National Infrastructure Protection plan has been both an honor and a privilege.

This decision was reached after a thorough examination, detailed consideration, and reflection on emerging events surrounding the credibility of, and public/private-sector information sharing programs executed by, this Office and the Pennsylvania Emergency management Agency. Central to every task undertaken by this Office was the security and well-being of the Commonwealth citizenry – our greatest resource. Empowering those municipal-level public safety stakeholders with the tools they need to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents resulting from all hazards (terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies) has been and should remain the primary goal of Commonwealth Preparedness strategies; it will also remain our greatest challenge.

It has truly been an honor to serve this administration and you. I sincerely wish continued success to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

James F. Powers, Jr.
Director, Office of Homeland Security

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