International City/County Management Association logo, PSAC meeting

PSAC Profile: International City/County Management Association

This is the latest in a blog series highlighting the associations of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority’s) Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). PSAC members represent associations and agencies from all public safety disciplines, as well as state, territory, tribal, and local governments. Together, they provide guidance and recommendations to the FirstNet Authority in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The PSAC’s input is invaluable to the development of FirstNet, the nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety.

City and county managers play a vital role, managing the delivery of government services to their local communities. One of their many responsibilities is to ensure their jurisdictions provide quality public safety services in a cost-effective way. As such, they have a vested interest in the buildout of the FirstNet network.    

City and county managers are represented on the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). ICMA is a non-profit organization, founded in 1914, whose mission is to advance local government by supporting excellence in professional management. ICMA provides professional development, training, and research on a wide range of topics including public safety. With more than 11,000 members, ICMA helps build better communities, from small towns to larger metropolitan areas.

ICMA’s PSAC representative is Mark Ryckman, City Manager of Corning, New York. Recently appointed to the PSAC Executive Committee, Ryckman serves as the City of Corning’s Director of Public Safety and has a long history supporting public safety communications initiatives. 

“The PSAC is one of the most important avenues for the public safety community to provide input into the buildout and operation of the FirstNet network,” said Ryckman.

Creating a cost-effective approach to public safety

Many local government managers are faced with the challenge of delivering a wide range of services with limited financial resources. As city and county managers are asked to “do more with less,” many are looking to technology to enhance public safety services at a reduced cost.

Traditionally, public safety communications systems have been expensive to operate and maintain, with public safety agencies left responsible for funding the radio network infrastructure. ICMA and other PSAC members made it clear that a different approach needed to be taken with the FirstNet network so that first responders had a cost-effective way to access broadband. The result was an innovative public-private partnership between the FirstNet Authority and AT&T, which ensures states and localities are not responsible for costs related to deploying or maintaining the network.

Ryckman has advocated for a “whole community” approach to ensure all those involved in public safety—from traditional first responders to the extended community working in utilities, public works, schools, and hospitals—had access to the network. The result is an interoperable network that can provide reliable communications and extensive data capabilities to entire communities, like the City of San Jose in California, which adopted FirstNet service city-wide.

“As a city manager, I am routinely looking for more cost-effective ways to provide quality services to the public. FirstNet has helped further those efforts,” explained Ryckman.

Ryckman has brought unique perspectives to the conversation when the FirstNet Authority first began scoping the requirements of the network. Today, he continues to represent ICMA by providing input on key efforts, including the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, always working to ensure FirstNet is built to meet the needs of all FirstNet users.

To find out more about ICMA and its efforts to improve community excellence, visit www.icma.org or engage with the association on Twitter,  Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Interested in learning more about the FirstNet Authority or the PSAC? Contact your local FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor and visit our website at FirstNet.gov.

For more information on FirstNet products and services, visit FirstNet.com.

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