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Ridge, Allbaugh Stress Partnership with Mayors on Homeland Security

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During remarks and then a question and answer session with the nation's mayors on June 17, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh thanked the Conference for supporting the new Department of Homeland Security which they said will improve prevention, preparedness and response efforts. While Ridge stood firm on his belief that the $3.5 billion in first responder funding should flow through the states, he again committed that at least 75 percent of these funds would reach local governments.

Several new announcements were made during this session. First, when asked about the issue of overtime support, Ridge said he may support a 10 percent "block grant within the block grant" for overtime reimbursement. Second, Ridge said he is working on an additional system to get security information to mayors - something the Conference has called for.