Temple Times Online Edition
    NOVEMBER 18, 2004
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Fox School hosts Mayors’ Summit
on security

Photo by Top Gun Corporate Photography
Among the participants at the fourth annual Mayors’ Summit were (from left) Steve Burkholder, mayor of Lakewood, Colo.; Phillip J. Bond, U.S. under secretary of commerce for technology; and Patrick McCrory, mayor of Charlotte, N.C.

On Oct. 7-8, The Fox School of Business and Management and the Center for Competitive Government partnered with Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams to present the fourth annual Mayors’ Summit. The theme of this year’s conference was “Homeland Security, Safety and Economic Development.”

The summit brought together 25 mayors and other government officials, including 30 chief information officers from key homeland security cities such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle, and academic experts and technology leaders from around the country and the world, from as far away as Israel.

According to Dean M. Moshe Porat, “This day-and-a-half summit is another effort by Temple University and The Fox School to meet their responsibilities as a major urban public business school. At Fox, we recognize that IT, one of the driving forces of our global economy, is an effective tool in making government work better.”

Designed to share information about leading-edge research and the best technology practices for managing homeland security, the summit focused on the use of innovative technology and communication resources to help keep the nation safe through manmade disasters such as terrorism and natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Simon Hakim, co-director of the Center for Competitive Government, summed up the summit’s benefits, saying, “We provided a forum for public- and private-sector executives to discuss relevant issues, especially management of homeland security, and explore possible technology-related solutions. By sharing experiences and strategies, mayors, city chief technology officers and other government officials were able to learn from each other. The center helps government find private-sector solutions for public-sector problems.”

One of the sessions, led by NorthComm’s Joint Task Force and faculty from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., explored the vulnerability of cities’ infrastructures and found ways to address those vulnerabilities in the face of disaster. For example, how do you communicate in a crisis if your phone system is down? NorthComm is the military coordinating unit responsible for homeland security.

Julie Fesenmaier, associate director of the Cochran Research Center, said homeland security today is “like a big puzzle, and [the mayors] are putting the pieces together. Temple’s role in the summit is an honorable one. Very few schools, and hardly any business schools, have the opportunity to work so closely with CIOs and mayors from across the country.”

According to Paul Andrisani, co-director of the Center for Competitive Government, one of the most interesting sessions was presented by Cisco, “who came up with a technology solution to allow different or divergent phone systems within a municipality or state to communicate with each other. In 9/11, there were needless deaths because firemen and policemen didn’t have the same phone system.”

Other topics discussed at the summit included best practices for responding to natural disasters, such as the record-breaking wave of hurricanes that battered Florida this year; issues within public-private partnerships; the role of the private sector in contributing to national defense and homeland security; cargo transportation security; AM wireless in the homeland security era; homeland security networks: information and cities; and eliminating the static in communications.

- By Christine Bain

Past Mayors’ Summits
First Summit: 2000
Host: Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, New York
Topic: “Making Government Work: Best Practices in Competitive Government”
Sponsor: IBM Endowment for the Business of Government, National League of Cities

Second Summit: 2001
Host: Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, New York
Topic: “Seizing the Opportunity of E-Government”
Sponsor: New York Stock Exchange, Center for Sustainable Communities, Computer Associates International, Enterasys, PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government, Eastern States Group

Third Summit: 2003
Host: Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr., San Francisco
Topic: “Homeland Security, Safety and Economic Development”
Sponsors: Battelle, Ciber, Cisco Systems, Hansen, Bechtel, Intergraph, SBC, Voyager Systems

Fourth Summit: 2004
Host: Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Washington
Topic: “Homeland Security, Safety and Economic Development”
Sponsors: Ciber, Cisco Systems, Computer Associates, SBC, Keane, Intergraph, Planagraphics, U.S. Department of Commerce