Sandy Aid Passes Congress, Long Island Pols Cheer

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, left, who went to Washington D.C. Tuesday to lobby for Sandy aid, meet with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Peter King and Steve Israel.Seventy eight days after Sandy, the remaining $51 billion of the $60-billion northeast aid package finally passed the U.S. House of Representatives, sparking praise from Long Island lawmakers who two weeks ago were at war with the Republican majority that initially snubbed superstorm survivors.“Tonight’s vote to provide $60 billion in Hurricane Sandy relief was an outstanding victory,” said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who famously blasted House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for the delays. “It is unfortunate that we had to fight so hard to be treated the same as every other state has been treated. But we did fight this bias against the northeast and thank god our residents won.”Rep.  Steve Israel (D-Huntington) said, “New Yorkers can finally rest assured that help is on its way. I’m delighted that the House finally passed the Sandy relief bill, but the real heroes are the New Yorkers rebuilding their lives, homes, and businesses.”New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy released a joint statement saying, “We are grateful to those members of Congress who today pulled together in a unified, bipartisan coalition to assist millions of their fellow Americans … at their greatest time of need.”U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he expects the bill to easily pass the Senate and be sent to the President’s desk for signing.last_img read more

Long Islanders Urged to Prepare for Hurricane Joaquin

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York With Hurricane Joaquin threatening the East Coast, Long Island officials began urging the public to prepare for the worst despite the storm’s uncertain path as it reached major hurricane status Thursday.The National Hurricane Center upgraded Joaquin to a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph sustained winds, terming it “extremely dangerous.” It was expected to batter the central Bahamas overnight. As for where Joaquin will hit next, meteorologists are grappling with major unknowns due to the myriad atmospheric conditions in play. The intensifying storm could make landfall in the Northeast or veer further into the Atlantic, sparing significant coastal damage.“Right now we’re essentially in a ‘prepare and pray’ mode,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told reporters during a press conference at police headquarters in Yaphank. “We’re gonna prepare for a worst-case scenario; we’re gonna pray that it does not unfold.”Although the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane watch may not be issued for the East Coast until Friday at the earliest, the National Weather Service issued a coastal flood watch and high surf advisory through 6 a.m. Friday to start. Astronomically higher than usual tides are forecast to cause barrier beach erosion and flood coastal homes.The message from officials in both Nassau and Suffolk counties is to stay informed, have go-kits ready for residents in low-lying areas, stock up on enough food and water that would last at least three days, gas up vehicles and generators, and heed evacuation warnings, if any are issued, so as not to put first responders unnecessarily in harm’s way.“The county is prepared to respond,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said Thursday morning during a press conference at the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management in Bethpage.The county executive expressed confidence in a rapid and efficient reaction if the storm strikes, noting that Nassau learned from Superstorm Sandy, which hit LI three years ago this month. He added that residents also have to play their part, because early preparation prior to Sandy “saved lives.”Both Mangano and Bellone said their counties have more assets to help tackle the storm than they did during Sandy, touting dozens of high-axle vehicles used for flood rescues, portable traffic lights for blackouts and a slew of new emergency generators. One of the major issues in the early days following Sandy were the power outages that knocked out traffic lights, making roads very dangerous. An increase in portable traffic lights should help alleviate that problem, Mangano noted.Local municipalities are also calling residents to be vigilant. Town of Hempstead said it’s preparing equipment for a potential storm and urged boaters to begin removing their vessels from marinas.“It is critical for each and every one of us to formulate a hurricane preparedness plan, and to be ready when and if the storm arrives,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray.In Brookhaven Town, supervisor Ed Romaine informed residents that they should visit the town’s website for news and weather updates, and also to access its “Hurricane Survival Guide.”Calling for the public to be proactive, Islip town officials not only cited Sandy’s aftermath, but also invoked the “unprecedented and unpredicted” storm in August 2014 that flooded neighborhoods with a record-setting 13 inches of rainfall, the most ever measured in a 24-hour period statewide.If a major tropical storm does hit LI, it would be the first true test for PSEG Long Island since it took over for the Long Island Power Authority in January 2014 amid outrage over LIPA’s inadequate response to Sandy. The utility said it’s monitoring Hurricane Joaquin and is preparing for a potential deluge of rain and powerful wind gusts. Resources will be in place over the weekend to initiate electric service restoration “as soon as the storm passes,” PSEG LI said in a statement.Officials remain concerned about LI’s Sandy-battered infrastructure. For example, construction is ongoing at Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which suffered a catastrophic failure during Sandy. Mangano said the county will use sandbags as an added layer of protection around the plant because a planned storm wall is still being built. Pumps have also been installed to keep pumping sewage away from people’s homes, the county executive said.On the other side of the county line, Bellone expressed concern that the dunes on Fire Island have yet to be restored since they were flattened by Sandy, which puts coastal communities on the Great South Bay at risk of flooding. Fire Island Ferries, the largest boat service to the mostly car-free barrier island, said it plans to suspend service Sunday.Meanwhile, without knowing where Joaquin will go next, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told all New Yorkers to get ready for the hurricane.“Since we don’t know if the storm is downstate or upstate, you have to prepare statewide,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo reporters on a conference call Thursday.After Sandy,many upstate communities were devastated by severe flooding that left bridges impassable for days, if not weeks.The governor said it’s too early to tell what major roads, if any, will be closed or whether mass transit will be shut down in New York City and on Long Island as it was during Irene and Sandy.He added that maintenance crews are clearing problem areas in streams and conduits that have proven problematic in past storms, as emergency management offices are being activated statewide and are coordinating with utility agencies, “especially on Long Island.”Cuomo said that experience with prior hurricanes have helped the state better prepare for tropical cyclones. But he cautioned that Mother Nature always finds a blind spot.“You can’t be prepared for everything,” he warned.One thing’s for sure, more rain is definitely heading toward LI, with heavy downfall expected Friday morning and possibly through the weekend along with strong winds.last_img read more

Who cares about you?

first_imgI recently read the following quote from an NCUA official related to the role of specialized cyber examiners from a NASCUS/CUNA Cyber Security Symposium last week; “Obviously a small institution that could implode from an attack is less impactful to us from an insurer’s perspective than a very large one, but when we are looking at two credit unions in the $100 million range and one is very straight forward and simple and (the other) one has every service and connection under the sun, they’re going to have two distinct risk profiles. So that’s where we would sit there and say, ‘you know what, this is one we’re going to have to focus our energy on.” So who cares about you? NCUA cares. Hackers care. Security solutions providers care. In the light of new and potential regulations and the realities of a consolidating market ask this, Who really cares about the long-term survival of your credit union and your brand?Of course we know that in this age of technology, with consumer’s desire to have access to their financial information through a multitude of devices, the services and connections that are referred to above represent a critical aspect of competitiveness. Over the past decade the rise of online and mobile platforms has created an amazing array of services for consumers and incredible tools for credit unions to interact with their members. More recently, add a multitude of new payment platforms into the mix and the reliance on technology increases bringing with it complexity and, potentially, cyber risk.This focus on cyber and potential risk is certainly warranted. Cyber risk is uniquely devious in several ways including its rapidly changing nature. It certainly embodies the mantra, you don’t know what you don’t know. Perhaps NCUA is correct that small yet complex institutions pose increased risk. On the flip side of the coin, small credit unions may be uniquely capable of streamlining their services and operations more effectively than larger operations that have more potential loose ends and take longer to change course. This is certainly true when one considers the sometimes marginalized, human factors that contribute to lapses in cybersecurity. Does a smaller credit union mean less loose ends?The understanding and assignment of risk is where the movement can play a critical role in the development of new, cyber-focused, regulation. All aspects of the financial services industry has some level of comfort with financial risk. Bank leaders, credit union leaders, federal regulators, insurance companies, investment houses, legislators all have experience and can call upon a vast history of financial failure when calculating risk and projecting impact.Cyber however is a different story. The pool of institutions where cyber can be pointed to as the prime driver in collapse is far smaller, and even with large information breaches such as with Target, the full scope and impact remains to be seen and the business is still thriving. Unfortunately for credit unions, there remains a lot to be learned and experienced when it comes to discovering the true impact of a significant and successful cyber attack. Furthermore, it remains to be seen how such an attack on a small or mid-sized credit union can or will affect the resources and networks it is connected to.One area where credit unions can be proactive is transparency. Making an honest analysis of their cybersecurity position and coming forward with questions, areas of concern, and known issues can make all the difference. Basically, providing the clearest picture of current and potential issues so that regulatory solutions are appropriate and not created in a vacuum. The risks are too great to not be forthcoming.A catch phrase that is often used on resumes is “self-starter”. Credit unions can be self-starters on cyber, and now is the time. Being proactive shows that you care about yourself and your members. Communications from NCUA and the trade groups point to them searching for solutions, or ways to effectively and fairly incorporate cyber into the regulation and exam process. There are suggestions and models in play, such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, that can act as a starting point. There are technology solutions that are currently being developed that can help credit unions punch above their weight class when it comes to cybersecurity. It will come down to proactive, honest analysis of operations and security and being self-motivated to take steps to ensure cyber safety and security. I would hope that potential increased information security and member well-being would be incentive enough to consider these suggestions before it becomes another piece of the regulatory burden. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Daniel Mica Dan Mica, former head of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), established The DMA Group as a means to combine a myriad of experience into a one-stop consultancy. Elected in … Web: www.dmagroupdc.com Detailslast_img read more