Veteran Manager Joseph Klinger to Lead Public Safety Agency

SPRINGFIELD - May 6, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the appointment of Joseph Klinger, assistant director at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), as interim director of the agency effective immediately.  Klinger replaces outgoing Director Andrew Velasquez III, who was recently appointed as regional administrator for FEMA Region V by President Barack Obama.

"Joseph Klinger is a professional and experienced manager, who will continue to keep this fine agency ready and able to handle any emergencies or problems that may arise anywhere in our state," said Governor Quinn.

Klinger is also Assistant Director at IEMA, a position he's held since 2007, and has worked for the state's nuclear safety program, which is housed within IEMA, for more than 20 years.  As IEMA Assistant Director, Klinger oversaw nearly two dozen programs to ensure public safety from the hazards of ionizing radiation. These include programs to monitor conditions at the six operating nuclear power stations in Illinois, plan for emergency response actions for incidents involving radiation and ensure the safe use of radiation-producing machines, such as x-rays

"IEMA has a critical mission, and I'm honored that Governor Quinn has asked me to lead the agency," Klinger said.

Klinger is also a Marine Corps Vietnam combat veteran and recently retired as a Captain in the U.S. Navy, Reserve Component, after serving 23 years commissioned service, which included a deployment to the Middle East in 2004-2005.

Velasquez has served as IEMA Director since March 2007.  During his tenure, he oversaw several state responses to major disasters, including the 2008 floods, the Northern Illinois University campus shooting and the 2009 derecho in southern Illinois.  As administrator for FEMA Region V in Chicago, Velasquez will direct FEMA activities for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency is responsible for preparing the state of Illinois for response and recovery from any natural, manmade or technological disasters or acts of terrorism.  During disasters, IEMA coordinates with state and federal agencies on response efforts.  IEMA, through the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, develops and implements the state's homeland security strategy and administers federal preparedness funding.

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