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Malibu hires Dueñas as new public safety manager

Susan Dueñas
Submitted by City of Malibu
9:14 am PDT April 20, 2017

The City of Malibu has selected Susan Dueñas as its public safety manager, a newly created position that is part of a more comprehensive approach to public safety and emergency management. Dueñas is to be introduced to the community during the City Council meeting on Monday, April 24, her first day in her new role. 

In January 2017, the City Council approved the new job specification of Public Safety Manager to incorporate a broader range of responsibilities and skills needed to address the City’s complex and constantly expanding public safety needs. The Public Safety Manager’s duties include some of the duties of the previously-established Emergency Services Coordinator as well as higher level management responsibilities. 

The Public Safety Manager will coordinate with outside agencies on all public safety and emergency preparedness matters, train staff on emergency protocols, oversee the City’s Emergency Operations Center, manage the City’s emergency and public safety volunteers, including the Community Emergency Response Team, interact with the community, and serve as part of the City manager’s management team. 

Dueñas has over 20 years of experience in leadership of emergency management with city and county government agencies. She has led large EOCs during major emergencies including wildfires and storms in Southern California. She has vast experience developing and executing training for government staff and leaders, police and fire personnel, volunteers and citizens, and has managed multimillion dollar budgets and grants. 

She also has years of experience in training and leading CERT programs. Dueñas will immediately start overseeing and coordinating CERT trainings and activities, as well as first aid and other trainings for residents, which will be announced on the City website and social media. 

Dueñas will coordinate with LASD to establish the new 5,000-square-foot LASD substation that will be part of the upcoming Santa Monica College campus project in the Civic Center to ensure it is most effective for the Malibu community.

As part of the City’s shift to a more integrated approach to emergency and public safety management, the City manager created a satellite office in City Hall for the LASD deputies and the City’s Volunteers on Patrol in July 2016. The office offers a working space for the LASD deputies and VOPs to write reports, store equipment, and charge radios and other devices used while on patrol in Malibu — activities that previously had to be done at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station in Agoura Hills.

Dueñas previously served as the emergency services manager for the City of Oxnard, where she developed the City’s emergency plans, maintained the EOC, trained the members of the EOC and senior City leadership, coordinated emergency planning between the City, the local school board, neighboring jurisdictions, utilities, Red Cross and other government agencies, and managed and trained the City’s CERT team. 

She also developed and implemented disaster training for Oxnard residents, businesses and community groups, managed Homeland Security and Emergency Management Performance Grants, managed the City’s emergency alert system, coordinated all city disaster relief claims to the state and federal government, and conducted online public outreach.

Prior to working for the City of Oxnard, she was senior program administrator for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services from 1999-2013, managing the county’s Homeland Security programs, and more. There, she oversaw numerous major EOC activations, including the 2013 Springs fire, 2007 Zaca fire, 2006 Day fire, 2006 Simi fire, 2006 winter storm, 2005 winter storm, the 2005 La Conchita landslide, and the 2000 Alaska Flight 261 airline crash. 

From 1996-1999, she was the disaster preparedness coordinator for the City of El Segundo Fire Department. She also worked at the City of West Hollywood from 1990-1996.

Dueñas has a bachelor’s in journalism and public relations and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University at Long Beach, and is a Certified Grants Management Specialist. Dueñas was accepted to the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Leadership in Crisis program, which she will attend in 2018.