Regional Catastrophic Planning Team Website - CT, NJ, NY, PA
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RIC Plan Leads

Cynthia Barton

Cynthia Barton

Disaster Housing Program Manager

Cynthia Barton is the Housing Recovery Plan manager at the NYC OEM and program manager for the RCPGP NY-NJ-CT-PA Disaster Housing Plan. She holds a master of architecture from Yale, and was previously the managing director of Architecture for Humanity New York, and a contributing editor to the book, Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Solutions to Humanitarian Crises. In 2007, she worked on the brief for What If New York City…, a competition for post-disaster housing sponsored by NYC OEM and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Cherrie Black

Cherrie Black

(former) Critical Infrastructure Protection Plan Lead

Cherrie Black is the former bureau chief for the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bureau in the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Black coordinated activities relating to the identification, classification, assessment, prioritization, and protection of NJ's critical infrastructure. In that capacity, she worked closely with the private sector, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and state, county, and local government liaisons. She served as a member of the DHS State and Local Working Group for the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. She served as a study group member on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council's Report and Recommendations on Critical Infrastructure Resilience. She was a deputy attorney general in the NJ Division of Criminal Justice and served as chief of the Financial Investigations Unit in the NJ Division of Criminal Justice. Black was promoted to assistant attorney general in 2004.

Lynn Centonze

Lynn Centonze

(former) Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan Lead

Lynn Centonze served as a member of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness in planning and project management, where she managed a variety of catastrophic planning initiatives in NJ. In January 2008 Centonze retired as chief of police for Fairfield, NJ. She served in various assignments of increasing responsibility, including deputy OEM coordinator. Centonze was the first female municipal police chief in Essex County. She was an active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and served on several committees and panels. She is a graduate of the 213th Session of the FBI National Academy, and while there was elected class spokesperson. She is a founding member of the NJ Women in Law Enforcement. In 2006 the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement honored her with a lifetime achievement award. Centonze has a bachelor of science from West Chester State College and a master's degree from Seton Hall. She currently attends Rutgers School of Law – Newark. Centonze also serves as a board member for Wynona’s House, a NJ-based nonprofit.

Frank DePaolo

Frank DePaolo

Mass Fatality Plan Lead

As assistant commissioner of the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) Emergency Management Division, Frank DePaolo has helped bring NYC to its position as a national leader in mass fatality management. In 2003, DePaolo established the MESORT, a medical examiner-based, multidisciplinary, HAZMAT-certified forensic team, the first of its kind in the nation. DePaolo is the driving force behind UVIS, a data-collection and integrated fatality-management application that facilitates missing persons reporting and victim identification during and after disasters. He continues to oversee ongoing OCME World Trade Center recovery operations. He manages emergency preparedness and operational response activities for the agency, recently expanding his role to include continuity of operations planning and security management. DePaolo is a subject-matter expert on mass fatality management at the national level, serving on several federal boards, including the Scientific Working Group on Disaster Victim Identification.

Dina Maniotis

Dina Maniotis

(former) Housing and Virtual Regional Operations Center (VROC) Plans Lead

Dina Maniotis served as the acting Regional Integration Center manager and had the overall responsibility for the RCPGP for the NY-NJ-CT-PA Project Site. After a career in the nonprofit sector — most recently with the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn-Queens — Maniotis joined NYC OEM in 2006. Maniotis led the development of a number of major citywide plans focused on the individuals and families impacted by disasters. These included the NYC Family Assistance Center Plan, the NYC Disaster Assistance Service Center Plan, the NYC Donations and Volunteer Management Plan, the NYC Disaster Animal Response Plan, and the Special Needs Advance Warning System. Maniotis has graduate degrees in liberal studies, family therapy, and public administration.

Alex Markowski

Alex Markowski

(former) Logistics Plan Lead

Alex Markowski served as the Assistant Commissioner for Logistics at NYC OEM. He joined the NYC OEM in 2003 and developed several plans, including the nationally recognized NYC Plan for Mobilizing Strategic National Stockpile Assets and the Logistics Strategy for the NYC Coastal Storm Plan. In 2007, he established an emergency supply stockpile program to support emergency shelter operations. Markowski served in the NYC Emergency Operations Center during several planned and no-notice events, including the northeast blackout in 2003, the Republican National Convention in 2004, and the transit strike in 2005. In 2008, he coordinated emergency logistics operations out of the Harris County, Texas, Emergency Operations Center after Hurricane Ike impacted the greater Houston area. Markowski holds a bachelor of arts in political science and history from Loyola University in Maryland and a master of arts in national security studies from Georgetown University.

Jim McConnell

James McConnell

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Plan Lead

James McConnell is the assistant commissioner for strategic data at the NYC OEM. He has been the director of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) since September 2001. The GIS staff is responsible for providing reliable geospatial data to decision makers during emergency events and to preparedness planners devising long-range strategies for dealing with large-scale emergencies. The division’s more recent efforts include the development of a Public Safety GIS Data Development Center, the collection of critical infrastructure data sets, and the development of an OEM Intranet mapping service. Previous to his work at OEM, McConnell worked for 16 years at the NYC Department of City Planning as an associate city planner. He managed citywide waterfront and open space plans, neighborhood rezonings, and community-based planning efforts as well as organizing the training of agency planners in the use of GIS. He has a bachelor in arts from Binghamton University, SUNY, and has studied at Hunter College in the Graduate Program in Urban Planning.

Amy Post

Amy Post

(former) Evacuation and Debris Management Plans Lead

Amy Post joined the NYC OEM in 2006 and was the director of transportation and infrastructure. As director, she oversaw the development of many of the City's emergency response and recovery plans, including evacuation, damage assessment, debris management, power disruption, and flash flooding. Post also led the development of the City's Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, which received FEMA approval and formal City adoption through Mayoral Executive Order in March 2009. As part of the RCPT, Post was the plan lead for both the Evacuation Plan and the Debris Management Plan. She has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and political science from the University of Wisconsin and a juris doctor and certificate in environmental law from Pace University.

Robert Van Pelt

Robert Van Pelt

(former) Regional Sheltering Plan Lead

Robert Van Pelt joined the NYC OEM in 2007, led a team in developing new components to the all-hazards sheltering plan. He worked with the City University of New York (CUNY) to incorporate these components into emergency shelter and evacuation center field operations guides as well as develop instructor-led and web-based training for sheltering system staff. In addition, he drafted the NYC Disaster Animal Response Plan, a comprehensive all-hazards animal plan for the City of New York. Prior to coming to NYC OEM, Van Pelt was the managing attorney for intake at the NYC Department of Homeless Services. He obtained his law degree from the CUNY School of Law. While in private law practice, he litigated before state and federal courts in both NY and NJ.

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