Disaster Preparedness & Recovery

Rhode Island Emergency Management Executive Director to Resign

Theresa Murray is leaving the position on Feb. 15 to focus on elder care commitments and her work as a federal contractor.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced on Feb. 6 that he accepted the resignation of Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) Executive Director Theresa Murray. Murray's last day at the agency will be Feb. 15.

In her resignation letter, Murray cited elder care commitments and a desire to focus on her work as a federal contractor. She was appointed executive director in January 2012. In a statement from the state, Murray said she was "pleased with RIEMA's establishment of the Rhode Island Business Emergency Operations Center, the Partners in Preparedness Initiative, the School Safety Program and for managing federal grant funds with integrity." Murray also cited the issuance of a revised 2004 State Emergency Operations Plan and raising awareness for business continuity planning and cybersecurity as accomplishments during her tenure.

"Theresa Murray has been an effective and committed leader at RIEMA," Chafee said in a statement. "I was able to witness her work firsthand during Hurricane Sandy, and Theresa was a key partner in our efforts to guide Rhode Island through that storm safely and securely.”

Prior to being appointed RIEMA’s executive director, Murray served as a regional catastrophic planner for the agency. She spoke with Emergency Management in 2011 about how Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire were coordinating plans for responding to interruptions in services due to cyberattacks or natural disasters that disrupt computer systems that facilitate critical services.

“The key is to get the state back up and running,” Murray said in May 2011. “When the local communities are unable to do it on their own, the private companies need some extra hands; that’s when they [the cyberdisruption response team] kick in.”

Previously Murray was a regional catastrophic planner for the Boston Office of Emergency Management. From 1984-2009, she served as a special agent in the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, rising to the position of assistant special agent in charge in the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education.

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