Conference to Adress Public Risk Management

More than 2,000 risk management professionals from the U.S. and several other countries will be in Chicago next week to\r\nlearn to evaluate, avoid and plan for just emergency situations as part\r\nof the 2001 Conference for Public Agencies.

What would happen if a city snowplow crossed in front of a plane landing at your city''s metropolitan airport, with the resulting crash killing 107 persons or if a drunk driver mowed down a marching band during the annual St. Patrick''s Day parade?

How much would these potential losses cost your city? How likely are they to occur? What could you do proactively to reduce the risk?

What if you''re wrong?

More than 2,000 risk management professionals throughout the nation and several other countries will be in Chicago next week to learn to evaluate, avoid and plan for just such contingencies as part of the 2001 Conference for Public Agencies. The event is sponsored by the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) and will take place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel, June 10-13.

Public risk management practitioners are city and public entity professionals who are loss prevention experts who balance the cost of protection against declining resources and the probability of occurrence. They must anticipate the worst case scenario in the public environment -- from natural events such as tornadoes and floods to school and workplace violence -- to provide best case scenarios for protecting taxpayers and their dollars.

Chicago offers an on-site laboratory for risk managers from smaller municipalities who want to improve their skills by seeing how the third largest U.S. city manages its risks.

As part of the meeting, U.S., Canadian, British, Australian, French and Japanese practitioners will have the opportunity to visit the O''Hare Airport, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Fire Department Academy, Jardine Water Plant, Navy Pier and Walter Payton Magnet School during special site visits.

Topics to be discussed at the PRIMA meeting include school safety, as well as workplace violence, legal and regulatory issues, employee benefits, workers'' compensation and other issues affecting the city, county or state''s bottom line -- or that of the school system, airport, water system, or public entity.

Leading the meeting will be Daniel J. Pliszka, ARM, Charlotte, N.C., manager, risk management, for Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. Pliszka, PRIMA President, is responsible for assessing potential risks to the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, a 1,500-employee police department, and a school system with 12,350 employees and 98,000 students.

Incoming president is Debra J. Carson, ARM-P, Risk Manager for Longmont, Colo. Newly-elected board members include Katharine M. Peeling, CPCU, ARM, risk management specialist, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (Annapolis, Md.) and Linda Hamson, CRM, administrative services supervisor, Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (Boise).

The 2001 Public Risk Manager of the Year is Mary L. Stewart, who assesses risks for the Metropolitan Washington (D.C.) Airports Authority. Her responsibilities include safety for the 26,000,000 passengers who use Reagan National (formerly National) and Dulles Airports each year, as well as the expansion of each of those facilities.

For more information on PRIMA or the conference, visit Prima''s Web site at

by Melissa Martin

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