Governor Peter Shumlin today appointed Neale Lunderville to oversee state recovery efforts following Tropical Storm Irene.
Lunderville, who served as Secretary of Administration and Secretary of Transportation under Governor Jim Douglas, will take a leave from his current position at Green Mountain Power.
In the post, Lunderville will spearhead efforts to assist families and businesses, restore communities, and rebuild infrastructure damaged by Tropical Storm Irene's record flooding and high winds. He will facilitate major recovery efforts currently underway across Vermont between state agencies and departments, federal disaster response, and local authorities and organizations.
"Neale has experience with every office of state government, including as Secretary of Transportation, as well as in the private sector," said Gov. Shumlin, who made the announcement today at a news conference. Lunderville also served as Douglas' administration secretary. "He's a proven problem solver, and gets things done. Neale can focus those skills on getting Vermont communities back on their feet, while we also continue to ensure that every Vermonter has affordable health care, broadband access and a quality education."
As the Irene Recovery Officer, Lunderville will be Gov. Shumlin's lead troubleshooter to quickly resolve recovery issues and keep efforts moving swiftly. Working closely with Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding, he will help expedite resources and necessary permits. In addition, Lunderville will develop a framework for integration of these special efforts into the ongoing operations of state government.
The short-term goal of the position is to address needs of impacted Vermonters by restoring basic services, housing and other essential needs, as well as to rebuild vital transportation corridors. The mid-term goal is to stabilize communities and infrastructure and develop plans for the rebuilding. This work is currently underway.
The State's continuing efforts to aid communities will focus on four key areas:
* Family & Business Assistance: Helping Vermonters recover from personal, property and community loss. Coordinating with FEMA, VEMA and state agencies to take care of immediate needs like food, housing, employment, transportation and education. Developing a strategy for restoring long-term health of families and communities.
* Infrastructure Reconstruction: Rebuilding roads, bridges and culverts. A thorough assessment of our current transportation damage and developing a priority list and realistic timeline for addressing these needs should be completed in earnest.
* Harnessing Vermont's Strength: Coordination of community relief efforts already underway to maximize resources, volunteers, donations and manpower.
* Building for the Future: Where possible, use the opportunity of rebuilding to reposition and strengthen Vermont communities to compete in the decades to come. For instance, where possible, use this opportunity to lay fiber