I am concerned. We rely on government to provide aid in the event of an emergency. Aiken and the rest of the CSRA went through an ice storm in February with lingering problems, but there were “misunderstandings,” confusion and lack of coordination between our Aiken city and state officials, according to Aiken city manager. It appeared the city manager wanted to handle the problem in-house and maintain control, even if it meant additional hardship on the citizens.
The state officials had contractors who were better equipped, but several of them told me they were not allowed to go into most areas of Aiken. A local paper stated April 29, “Despite published evidence to the contrary, Aiken City Manager Richard Pearce is standing firm on his version of events when it comes to an explanation for delays in debris cleanup following Winter Storm Pax.” The city manager’s version is most difficult for me to believe – that the “misunderstanding” lasted from February until late April, when the city’s website provided a debris pick-up schedule that would have required coordinating with the state regarding areas in which each were working.
Suppose the disaster had been something different with many lives at stake! Would Aiken have handled it in-house, or coordinated with disaster teams from outside the city to save lives?
I would like to see the city of Aiken, Aiken County and our state personnel conduct disaster drills, or at least planning meetings, to know in advance who would do what in the event of such disasters as major fires, tornados, hurricanes, radiation leaks or others. Controlling one’s turf should not be a consideration with lives at stake, and it should not have been during the ice storm.
If we have any elected or hired officials who cannot work with others for ego reasons, they need to be promptly replaced!
Neil O. Myers