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Eye On Boise

Teresa Luna hired as state emergency planner; lack of college degree not an issue in new post

Teresa Luna, former director of the state Department of Administration, has been hired as the new emergency planner for the state Bureau of Homeland Security, a position that BHS officials said matches the skills she brings from the Admin Department. “Ours is a very specialized field and Teresa brings a wealth of subject matter expertise to the organization,” said Brad Richy, the bureau’s director. “Teresa’s skills align with the mission of IBHS and we look forward to her making significant contributions to the work we do preparing for, protecting against, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all hazards.”

State Homeland Security spokeswoman Elizabeth Duncan said the 40-person agency welcomes Luna’s skills, and it’s not an issue that she lacks any college education; none is required for her new position. “That is not a deal-breaker,” Duncan said. “Based on her background and experience and knowledge of what we do and the fact that she’s worked extensively with BHS in the past, it’s an excellent fit.”

Luna’s salary in her new job, which she started yesterday, is $56,285 a year, well below her $95,000 salary when she headed the Admin Department. She resigned from that post this spring, after upheaval in the department that included the failure of the Idaho Education Network and the removal of that school broadband program from Admin; it was shifted instead to the state Department of Education. Lawmakers this year cut the state-funds portion of the Admin Department budget by two-thirds, in part because of the program’s removal.

After Luna’s resignation, she stayed on at Admin for another month as a “program specialist” at the same $95,202 annual salary she earned as director. She had headed the department since 2011; she was chief of staff to former Director Mike Gwartney before taking over the department, and had previously worked for the Idaho state controller’s office for four years. Luna is the sister of former state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna.

Richy said Luna has worked closely with the bureau on issues involving cyber security mitigation strategies, and the bureau also welcomes her experience in state agency coordination and understanding of state, county and local government. You can read my full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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