Reed calls for review of city’s storm response; says ‘I’m deeply sorry’

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called for a review of the city’s response to a winter storm that left thousands across the city stranded on interstates and in schools earlier this week.

Speaking to a host of politicians and reporters at an Atlanta Press Club event Friday, a pre-scheduled luncheon, Reed rattled off a host of changes he’s implementing days after Snow Jam 2014.

Among them: developing a protocol for dismissal of students, government workers and the business sector, recruiting an Atlanta emergency management executive to coordinate with regional leaders, developing a task force that includes government officials and even The Weather Channel to help Atlanta “become a weather-ready city,” and asking the Atlanta City Council for funds to increase the city’s fleet of vehicles to treat roads.

Reed also rebutted a news story that described the mayor as “unapologetic” following the storm, recalling an interview he conducted with Channel 2 Action News Wednesday in which he said: “I am deeply sorry and regret terrible the pain and anguish many people felt beginning Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.”

Reed continued to say: “My heart goes out to anyone stuck in a car for 12 to 13 hours. My heart goes out to the woman who gave birth on I-285. I feel the pain of a mother or father who hasn’t felt the warm embrace of a son or daughter because their children were stuck in school Tuesday night.”

He struck a sharply different tone than he did in a round of media interviews this week in the wake of Winter Storm Leon, some in which he appeared fatigued and combative. Reed was slated to discuss his administration’s goals for 2014, but instead tackled the topic on everyone’s minds: the icy debacle.

Reed was able to crack a few jokes Friday, noting there was one good outcome of the storm: recognition of the region as powerful.

“About the only thing I was happy about the weather coverage is that they kept saying this is the ninth largest metropolitan area in America,” he said. “I was like, man I had to get snowed on to have that.”

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