Friday, May 23, 2008

Muth to head state emergency agency

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ANNAPOLIS — Richard G. Muth, a 33-year Baltimore County Fire Department member and director of the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, will take over next month as director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Muth’s appointment on Tuesday. Muth will take over the agency on June 1.

‘‘Richard is a seasoned emergency manager and has for more than 15 years led the emergency management program of Baltimore County,” O’Malley said in a statement.

‘‘He is highly respected in the emergency management community, and I know he will continue the great strides made in preparing MEMA and Maryland for the next emergency or disaster — the professionals of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency are in superb hands.”

Muth succeeds John W. Droneburg III, who Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) appointed as director of the agency in December 2003.

Muth had overseen administration of Baltimore County’s Office of Emergency Preparedness since 1993, including the past five as director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

In that position, Muth oversaw the county’s hazardous materials program, advanced tactical rescue and fire department communications.

Muth has a long history of working with state emergency management issues, including two terms as president of the Maryland Emergency Management Association.

In 1998, Muth was awarded a governor’s citation for serving as the on-scene coordinator for Maryland responders to wildfires in Florida. He has also headed the Baltimore Metro Council Y2K contingency planning group and oversaw the Maryland response to Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.

Muth’s appointment is part of a makeover of the Maryland Military Department, which comprises MEMA as well as the Maryland Army and Air National Guard and Maryland Defense Force.

On Wednesday, O’Malley announced the appointments of Brig. Gen. Alberto J. Jimenez as assistant adjutant general for army of the Maryland Army National Guard and Col. Allyson R. Solomon as assistant adjutant general for air of the Maryland Air National Guard. They will serve under the state’s adjutant general, Brig. Gen. James A. Adkins. The appointments are effective June 1.