HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today appointed Col. James Joseph, deputy director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), as the agency's new director. Joseph will replace Adrian King, who is returning to the private sector on Sept. 30.
The Governor also named Roland "Bud" Mertz as the acting director of the Office of Homeland Security. Mertz replaces Jonathan Duecker who is leaving to spend more time with his family.
"Today more than ever Pennsylvania must have experienced, qualified, effective and take-charge officials leading PEMA and the Office of Homeland Security," Governor Rendell said. "There is no more important job than protecting and safeguarding Pennsylvanians, and I'm confident that Col. Joseph and Bud Mertz will do just that," Governor Rendell said.
"Adrian has been an extraordinary leader in managing Pennsylvania's emergency management response and has set a very high standard," Governor Rendell said. "Adrian developed the successful legal case against the Department of Defense in its attempt to close the 111th Fighter Wing at Willow Grove, demonstrating a tenacity to defend those who bravely defend us. He also calmly coordinated the commonwealth's fast and compassionate response to the Katrina disaster."
"Jim Joseph will continue this record of dedication and provide experienced leadership for an agency that is critical and can be called upon at anytime without notice," Governor Rendell said. "Jim's record of public service and his military, law enforcement and emergency response background make him a qualified leader for the job."
Before joining Governor Rendell's administration, Joseph had an extensive relationship with PEMA during his tenure with the Pennsylvania National Guard. As an intelligence and operations director with the National Guard, he was responsible for: coordinating with PEMA the use of National Guard personnel and resources during a disaster; overseeing the National Guard's Civil Support Team (CST) that responds to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or other serious incidents; and coordinating with other states and federal agencies the use of National Guard support for homeland security activities.
"As homeland security director, Jon Duecker dedicated endless hours to protecting Pennsylvanians," Governor Rendell said. "He collaboratively brought together federal, state and local officials to share information and improve security measures throughout the commonwealth."
"Bud will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the Office of Homeland Security and our local governments and emergency response teams work in unison," Governor Rendell said. "I am confident that our Office of Homeland Security will continue to operate efficiently and effectively under his leadership."
Prior to this appointment as acting director of Homeland Security, Mertz served as deputy director since January of 2005, where he was responsible for coordinating Pennsylvania's homeland security efforts with state agencies, counties and local municipalities. He has been part of the Office of Homeland Security since March 2003, when he was named assistant director. He previously served the Pennsylvania State Police as Communications Officer for 24 years. Bud also was a volunteer captain of the Greensburg Fire Company and a Greensburg city councilman.
Rick Flinn will serve as PEMA's deputy director. Flinn most recently served as a special assistant to the PEMA director since January 2005 and worked for the Governor's Office of Administration as the special assistant for Continuity of Government. Prior to his tenure in state government, Flinn was the executive director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council, which advised the Secretary of Health on emergency health services.