In announcing changes to the way the Georgia Emergency Management Agency works when it comes to big storms, the governor has taken a good first step. He’s appointed a task force to review procedures and told GEMA to work with area meteorologist before a big storm arrives. It’s a huge task in a metro area with 5.4 million people. But no matter what changes are recommended, the governor needs to take a further step. Two days after the storm hit, the governor said, “I accept responsibility for the fact that we did not make preparation early enough to avoid these consequences ... I’m not looking for a scapegoat. I’m the governor, the buck stops with me.” But does it?
No one expects a governor to run an emergency management agency. He depends on trained personnel. Charley English, GEMA’s director admitted, “I got this one wrong.” Yes he did and his job should be on the line. While he was let down by the people around him, too, it was his call not to call the governor in the wee morning hours before the snow started to fall.
The main reason our area was not impacted adversely was the cooperation between elected leaders, emergency management personnel and school superintendents. That didn’t happen in metro Atlanta and someone needs to be held accountable.