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February 10, 2006

eNewsletter from the Governor’s Office of Recovery & Renewal


On December 31, 2005, the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding & Renewal delivered its final report to Governor Haley Barbour, signifying the end of the Commission’s work.  Governor Barbour tasked the Commission with developing a roadmap to recovery, and Jim Barksdale promised to have a plan on his desk before the end of the year.  With the report now delivered, the focus shifts to rebuilding and implementation.


Governor Barbour created the Office of Recovery and Renewal to jumpstart the implementation phase of recovery from Hurricane Katrina.  This new office is located within the Governor’s Office and is working closely with the Governor and his staff on Katrina-related issues.


Dr. Gavin Smith serves as Director of the Office of Recovery and Renewal.  Dr. Smith was previously the Assistant Director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management.  He was heavily involved with the work of the Governor’s Commission, and drafted the Policy Recommendations chapter of the Governor’s Commission final report.


Brian W. Sanderson serves as Deputy Director of the office.  He was previously General Counsel of the Governor’s Commission. 


The Office of Recovery and Renewal has staff in the Governor’s office as well as field staff located on the Coast, who will continue interacting with local officials and citizens. 


The Office of Recovery and Renewal is focusing on the implementation of long-term recovery plans and policies.  The office has four primary objectives:

  1. Obtaining the maximum amount of federal dollars and maximizing the use of credit in lieu of cash
  2. Providing policy advice/formulation to the Governor, his staff and other state agencies
  3. Providing technical assistance, education and outreach to local governments
  4. Identifying responsible entities and facilitating the implementation of the recommendations in the Governor’s Commission Report as directed by the Governor

The Office of Recovery and Renewal is off to an ambitious start.  Currently, the members are working with Mississippi Development Authority on policy formulation for the Housing Assistance Program as well as working with FEMA regarding the advisory flood elevations and the expenditure of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds. Meetings have also been held with coastal officials to explain the new office’s role and listen to their concerns.  The office will also serve as the state liaison to FEMA’s long-term recovery planning team, commonly referred to as Emergency Support Function 14 (ESF-14). 


In the very near future, the office will host workshops on the Coast, encouraging local officials to take advantage of all avenues of federal and state assistance.  A second workshop focusing on the role of non-profits, associations, and corporate assistance will follow.  Also, a web portal will be created, providing links to various relief sources.  Additional information on these events will be provided at a later date.


Thank you for your past interest in and involvement with the Governor’s Commission.  The Office of Recovery and Renewal is engaged in continuing the momentum created by the Governor’s Commission and is completely committed to rebuilding a Mississippi that is bigger and better than ever.