Supervisors vote to demote Conroy
for lack of emergency management experience
Annemarie Conroy. File photo (5/18/6)
By Emmett Berg, Bay City News Service
October 3, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The San Francisco Board of Supervisors
completed a renaming of city emergency agencies today that was
orchestrated to reduce the authority of a mayoral appointee widely
criticized as inexperienced.
Annemarie Conroy, starting tomorrow, will begin a lesser-profile
role as the deputy director for emergency services, one full tier
below her previous position on the city's command structure, director
of emergency services.
Conroy will report to Laura Phillips, hired six months ago to
run the city's Office of Emergency Management.
The latest salvo in the power play between supervisors and Mayor
Gavin Newsom was accomplished via an 11-0 vote to create a new
"Department of Emergency Management" to oversee two
related agencies, one overseeing emergency services and the other
managing 911 and emergency communications.
Michela Alioto-Pier, appointed by Newsom to represent the Second
Supervisorial District, said that 70 percent of San Francisco's
first responders live outside the city and may not be able to
get here in case of a disaster.
When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit in 1989, the city relied
upon fast work by thousands of military personnel stationed at
the Presidio and the Alameda Naval Air Weapons Station, Alioto-Pier
said. Now those installations are shuttered and the city lacks
a seasoned leader, she said.
"Yet we have a three-star general living in San Francisco
who served in Iraq," the supervisor said. "We need to
tap into these resources."
Conroy has been criticized for attending school in Monterey to
learn aspects of homeland security as she keeps her full time
job in San Francisco.
Today's board action requires the director of emergency management
to have at least 10 years experience in emergency services and
five years experience in a management position.
"This position requires someone who can do the job, not
because they're a quick study, but because it's a life they have
lived," Alioto-Pier told board members.
Conroy did not speak to the board on the issue. The mayor's office
was not immediately available to comment on the action.
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