Top state officials will also be involved in the task force, including Charley English, the head of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency who apologized for failures as the storm approached. When prodded by a reporter, Deal said he stood by English and praised his work in the wake of the storm.
“He openly acknowledged he made a mistake,” Deal said. “I think that most of us in our lives have made a mistake. Probably not as obvious as maybe this one. But he is conducting himself as I would expect him.”
Both Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have promised exhaustive reviews of the storm response to ensure the region is better prepared for future storms. Deal said an internal review should be complete within 10 days.
Critics of the government’s response panned Deal’s announcement as a half-measure that does little to assure antsy residents that the city can handle a more significant weather emergency. They noted that Deal offered similar assurances about a 2011 ice storm that crippled the city as he took office.
State Sen. Steve Henson, the chamber’s top Democrat, said a bipartisan legislative committee should probe the response to offer a more independent take.
“We don’t want this to become a whitewash and we don’t want the governor to forget what led us here: The governor failed to notify citizens that this storm had the potential to cause serious problems,” he said.