Neely is the likely pick for Office of Homeland Security's top PRpost

WASHINGTON: Susan Neely, SVP for communications at the Association

of American Medical Colleges, has emerged as the likely nominee for the

director of communications position in the newly created Office of

Homeland Security, according to White House and industry sources.



Tom Ridge, director of the new office and former governor of

Pennsylvania, reportedly met with Neely early in the week and gave his

approval. A White House source confirmed that she was being "looked at

closely," and was indeed the top person being considered for the

position.



Neely, who declined to comment for this article, has long been a fixture

on the Washington PR scene, and was recently elected chairwoman of the

Public Affairs Council (PAC) effective 2003.



Doug Pinkham, president of the PAC, said Neely's experience as a

communications executive in the medical and insurance industries make

her uniquely qualified for the homeland security position, as she has a

"great ability to understand how public policy and communications work

together."



The Office of Homeland Security was created by President Bush in

response to the attacks of September 11. It is charged with coordinating

the intelligence and activities of 46 federal agencies in an attempt to

protect against future terrorist attacks on American soil.



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