New York State Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Michael Balboni has resigned his post. On Jan. 23, Mr. Balboni told the Great Neck Record that he chose to step down from public life to head the New York operations of Navigators Global, a firm billed as a "bipartisan, full-service government relations and strategic communications consulting firm." Mr. Balboni becomes a principal at Navigators Global on Feb. 2.
Mr. Balboni, along with Don Kent, former undersecretary of legislative affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will lead the firm's homeland security practice and guide its expansion into New York public affairs areas and across the nation.
Having served for 10 years as state senator for the 7th district, which includes Great Neck (and prior to that having served in the state assembly), Mr. Balboni was appointed to head New York State's homeland security in January of 2007. Appointed to the state position first by Governor Eliot Spitzer and then reappointed by Governor David Paterson, late last year Mr. Balboni was appointed by then President-elect Barack Obama as an outside advisor to the incoming president's Homeland Security transition team.
As deputy secretary of public safety for the state, Mr. Balboni had day-to-day responsibility for managing homeland security affairs, emergency preparedness and response, and law enforcement. He oversaw 63,000 employees and operated with a budget of $5 billion.
Prior to his service as deputy secretary of public safety, he was the chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.
Following September 11, working as a state senator, Mr. Balboni was quick to forge into the area of homeland security, often into uncharted areas. In December 2002 he asked the state senate to start up a homeland security committee, a committee where he ultimately became the first chairman in January 2003. It was during these years that Mr. Balboni reports that he wrote "every major homeland security law in New York, including the state's Anti-Terrorism Law of 2001 that mandates severe penalties for those who commit terror acts, make terror threats, or render assistance to terrorists."
Mr. Balboni also authored a 2002 law that helps protect the state's water supply from terror attacks. In 2005, he authored the Chemical Plant Security Act, the first of its kind in the nation.
In 2004, Mr. Balboni was appointed to serve on a national task force reviewing allocation of federal money for homeland security measures. In 2005, he was named Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University. In addition, he co-chaired the National Conference of State Legislatures Executive Task Force on Homeland Security.
And so now this very popular public servant enters the private sector. While there are so many who will miss Michael Balboni's dedication and hard work on behalf of the public, this is an exciting new future for Mr. Balboni. Poised to leave public life in a matter of days, Mr. Balboni told the Record: "The opportunity to serve in both houses of the legislature and the governor's office in New York has been a singular honor which I will cherish for the rest of my life. Though the issues and events throughout my 24 years have been fascinating and personally defining, it has been my interaction with the public that has made the experience so memorable. Thanks to all who gave me a chance, lent an ear, offered an opinion and cared about the role I played in shaping New York's history. I will miss public life terribly but am excited at what the future will hold for me in Washington."
For further information on Michael Balboni's new firm, visit www.navigatorsllc.com.