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FirstNet Board Leaders Announce Plans to Retire

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce) today issued the following press release:

Today, FirstNet Board Chair Sue Swenson and Vice Chair Jeffrey Johnson notified Assistant Secretary of Commerce David Redl of their resignation from the FirstNet board. Formal letters of resignation have been submitted to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The Secretary of Commerce is responsible for appointing the 12 non-permanent members of the FirstNet board, which includes 15 voting members. The other three seats are filled by the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, the Secretary of Commerce appoints the board chair, while the board chair selects the vice chair. Swenson’s term as board chair expires today, and Johnson is stepping down from his vice chair role, also effective today. Swenson and Johnson served two years of their 2016 three-year appointments.

“Secretary Ross and I are grateful for the leadership that Sue Swenson and Jeff Johnson demonstrated in leading FirstNet from a true startup to nationwide deployment,” said Redl. “We are deeply appreciative of their commitment to public safety and service to their country. The Department and FirstNet have identified talented, experienced candidates for the FirstNet board that will carry on Sue and Jeff’s good work. We look forward to announcing those appointments later this year.”

In April, NTIA issued a notice to recruit candidates to replace board members whose terms were ending and received responses from a wide range of qualified applicants. With today’s resignations, there will be seven seats to fill. The board’s next quarterly meeting is in December.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve public safety over the past six years. Having accomplished what Chief Johnson and I set out to do back in 2012 with the deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) across all 56 states and territories with AT&T, it seems like the right time to transition,” Swenson said. “We remain committed to the FirstNet mission and will seek ways to continue our support of FirstNet in the years following our service.”

“It was a privilege to serve with Sue and represent the fire service community on the FirstNet board,” Johnson said. “I am confident that FirstNet will continue to succeed as it pursues its mission of providing a dedicated broadband network for every first responder in the country.”

The IAFC said Chief Johnson and Sue Swenson have both been advocates for the fire service and for the FirstNet system. 

As 2009-2010 IAFC president, Chief Johnson was instrumental in getting FirstNet established as part of The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

On August 9, Swenson was presented with an IAFC Presidents Award of Recognition for Outstanding Leadership in Communications.

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