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Secretary Raimondo Appoints 11 Leaders to FirstNet Board, Names New Board Chair


Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the appointment of 11 leaders in public safety, technology and finance to serve on the Board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority). Secretary Raimondo also named Stephen Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, as the FirstNet Authority’s new Board Chair.

The appointed members, along with current Board member Karima Holmes, bring the FirstNet Board to a full complement, with 12 non-permanent members selected by the Department of Commerce and three permanent seats occupied by the U.S. Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The Board oversees activities to ensure that the FirstNet Authority and AT&T—its commercial partner—develop, build, and operate a nationwide public safety broadband network that will best equip first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.

“I am proud to announce the selection of these highly qualified Board members, whose experience in public service and the private sector will ensure that the FirstNet Authority continues to provide the world-class communications network our emergency responders need,” said Secretary Raimondo. “I thank these individuals for their willingness to join the Board and guide the FirstNet Authority in its mission to save lives and keep our communities safe. Their backgrounds and experience reflect the diversity of FirstNet network users and will enable the Board to look to the future for investment opportunities and sound financial management to maintain the only public-private nationwide public safety broadband network.”

Secretary Raimondo selected seven new members to the FirstNet Board for three-year terms:

  • Stephen Benjamin – Board Chair, Mayor, Columbia, SC. Former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; former President, African American Mayors Association; Vice Chair, Global Parliament of Mayors; Co-chair, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition; and former Member, FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee.
  • Alexandra Fernandez Navarro, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Commissioner, Puerto Rico Public Service Regulatory Board; Member, FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee; and Member, NTIA State Broadband Leaders Network.
  • Kristin Graziano, Sheriff, Charleston County, SC. Member, Major County Sheriffs of America.
  • Peter Koutoujian, Sheriff, Middlesex County, MA. President, Major County Sheriffs of America; former President, Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association; and former Representative, Massachusetts House of Representatives.
  • Warren Mickens, Colorado. Retired Vice President, CenturyLink Communications; and former Vice President, Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent.
  • Sylvia Moir, Arizona. Retired Police Chief of Tempe, AZ, Police Department; former Interim Police Chief, Napa, CA; Past President, Police Executive Research Forum; and Chair, IACP Community Policing Committee.
  • Jocelyn Moore, New York. Consultant/Venture Capital; Board of Directors, DraftKings; former EVP, National Football League; former Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Finance Committee; and former Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy Director and Legislative Director for Senator John D. Rockefeller IV.

In addition, Secretary Raimondo reappointed four Board members to serve in second three-year terms:

  • Richard Carrizzo, Missouri. Chief of the Southern Platte Fire Protection District, Kansas City, MO; and Immediate Past President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).
  • Brian Crawford, Louisiana. EVP and Chief Administrative Officer of Willis-Knighton Health System; and retired Fire Chief and City Administrator. 
  • Billy Hewes, Mississippi. Mayor, Gulfport, MS. Member, U.S. Department of Interior, National Park System Advisory Board; and former Mississippi State Senator.
  • Paul R. Patrick, Utah. Division Director, Family Health and Preparedness, Utah Department of Health; and past president of the National Association of State EMS Officials.

“Mayor Benjamin is a talented and experienced leader who will bring strong stewardship and vision to the Board. I am confident that, under Mayor Benjamin’s leadership, the new Board will guide the FirstNet Authority as it continues to deploy around the country and serve our first responders,” Secretary Raimondo said. “I also want to thank our outgoing Chair Robert ‘Tip’ Osterthaler for his service to the FirstNet Authority and the public safety community. Tip has been a valuable member of the Board, and the FirstNet Authority has built a strong foundation with the support of his leadership and dedication.”

Five others have completed their service on the Board: Former Board Chair Edward Horowitz, Network and Technology Committee Chair Neil Cox, Welton Chase, Matt Slinkard, and David Zolet

“NTIA congratulates the new board members and welcomes them to the team. Under the leadership of Mayor Steve Benjamin, FirstNet is poised to continue to deliver for first responders,” said Evelyn Remaley, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “I also want to thank all of the outgoing Board members for their tireless service and commitment. They led the FirstNet Authority through a time of incredible growth and ensured that it is well positioned to serve public safety for many years to come.”


The First Responder Network Authority is an independent entity within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The FirstNet Authority’s mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide public safety broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. In March 2017, the Department of Commerce and FirstNet announced a partnership with AT&T to build and operate the first responder network. It is delivering the technologies and infrastructure that public safety relies on for day-to-day operations, disaster response and recovery, and securing of large events.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created the FirstNet Authority, and Congress directed that it be governed by a 15-person Board, with the U.S. Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget named as permanent Board members. Congress charged the Secretary of Commerce with selecting the remaining 12 non-permanent members.