Baker Bill Would Require PEMA Director To Receive Confirmation by State Senate

Citing the critical responsibilities of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the need for strong communication and coordination in responding to emergencies, Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) has introduced legislation to require the PEMA Director to be confirmed by a majority of the members of the Senate.

Baker, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said “The PEMA Director manages a 160-person agency responsible for coordination and oversight of the state and local government response to emergencies. Considering the great importance of these charges, I believe the nominee for this position should be more accountable to the legislature. The additional scrutiny and review of this individual will help us to be better apprised of the policies and practices of PEMA.”

Baker noted that the Secretaries of similar sized agencies, Aging and Banking, both require Senate confirmation.

She added that requiring Senate confirmation of the PEMA Director will be a positive step toward improving agency accountability and ensure that there is strong communication and coordination in responding to emergencies.

“Throughout recent Senate and House hearings to review the response to the storm of February 13-15, we identified significant communication gaps between state and local agencies and between state agencies and the Governor’s office during the emergency,” Baker said. “Citizens expect state and local emergency response to be provided in a timely, expedient, and responsible manner. I believe requiring Senate confirmation will increase accountability and better ensure that the agency is prepared to deal with emergencies efficiently and effectively.”

 Contact: Brian Grove
(570) 675-3931

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