Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Launches Investigation into State’s Winter Storm Response

HARRISBURG (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — Governor Edward G. Rendell today said Pennsylvania’s response to this week’s snow emergency was “unacceptable” and called for a thorough investigation into how the
situation was handled by state agencies.

The Governor contracted James Lee Witt, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to perform an independent review that will complement an investigation by the Governor’s Office of
Administration.

Governor Rendell said state workers, some of whom worked without rest for the past 48 hours, should be commended.

“It is not a good day for state government,” said Governor Rendell in a news conference earlier today. “As the chief executive of the commonwealth, I take full responsibility for what appears to be a complete breakdown of communications and personally apologize to anyone who was stranded.

“The people who managed the efforts work for me, and this was an inadequate and unacceptable response. I am responsible for this.”

The Governor described a communications breakdown that led to him being caught off guard when stranded motorists began calling his office around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. He quickly mobilized the Pennsylvania National Guard, who he praised for rushing food, blankets, water and gasoline to those stranded motorists they were able to reach.

“The same people who performed brilliantly in response to recent flooding in northeastern Pennsylvania had significant mistakes in judgment during this storm,” said Governor Rendell. “There are no excuses, though. I
intend to find out what went wrong and ensure that this never happens again.”

For additional severe weather safety information please visit the PEMA Website at
http://www.pema.state.pa.us.

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