Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Audit: Massachusetts Is Unprepared

The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight has issued an audit that raises concerns with Massachusetts' homeland security response plans:

The Committee found the following general areas of concern:
  • The state’s insufficient oversight of homeland security planning by cities, towns and the state’s agencies and authorities;
  • The state’s failure to provide first responders with the proper means to protect against terrorist activity and natural disasters;
  • The state’s inadequate communication of the statewide strategy; and
  • The state’s unsuccessful implementation of its homeland security plan.
The committee places most of the blame on the Executive Office of Public Safety, the state agency responsible for homeland security. It notes that police and fire departments have lost 1,124 personnel since 9/11.

The Boston Globe reported that:

Executive Office of Public Safety spokeswoman Kelly Nantel rejected many of the report's findings and said the state has dramatically improved preparedness.

Nantel said the state has added more than 2,000 police officers since 2003 and has been praised by federal homeland security officials as one of 11 states that had "sufficient" preparedness plans.

A spokesman for Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said the Democrat-led Legislature is to blame for "the only real gap in the state's emergency planning," the lack of a better response for the outbreak of a pandemic flu.
I think the state is on the right track when they talk about distributing funds by region, as Missouri is also doing. But the rancor around this report seems to smack of partisan sniping. It's particularly disheartening to see that they can't even agree on the number of police officers and firefighters in the state.

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