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Identity of FirstNet's GM remains a mystery for now

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The board of directors at the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) selected a new general manager, but the candidate's name is being withheld pending successful completion of background check processes.

The selection was made during a largely closed meeting on March 18. Board member Craig Farrill has been filling the role of acting general manager.

FirstNet was created by The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Tax Relief Act) and is charged with building, deploying and operating the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), which will use LTE technology in the 700 MHz band. The nascent organization has been ramping up efforts to add staff and reach out to states and public-safety entities as it develops its network blueprint.

In line with those efforts, FirstNet's board also voted on Monday to add $1 million to FirstNet's outreach plan and advocacy efforts. At previous meetings, the board approved the development of a comprehensive financial and operating plan for FirstNet, approved spending up to $10 million to initiate delivery of the plan and also approved the hiring of up to 10 individuals to the acting management team.

The board also voted Monday to submit FirstNet's budget to the Department of Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), enabling the budget to be included in Commerce's budget justification materials. FirstNet operates as an independent authority within Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

NTIA is slated to have $11 million cut from its budget over the remainder of the fiscal year due to sequestration. Included in the NTIA budget cut is a $5 million reduction in the borrowing authority of the Public Safety Trust Fund, an account set up via the 2012 Tax Relief Act for use in creating the NPSBN.

For more:
- see this NTIA document, this document and this document (PDFs)
- see this MissionCritical Communications article

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