TODAY   |  January 30, 2014

Atl. mayor: Error was ‘way we released’ citizens

Facing criticism over the city’s response to an unusual winter storm, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said that while they did not have the experience to deal with the unusual weather, their efforts have made 80 percent of the city’s roads passable.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> uls could -- tom costello, let's go right to the mayor of atlanta . mr. mayor, did you have the information you needed, did you have the forecast you needed to make the right calls before this snow arrived?

>> the answer is yes but it's not solely about my call. in the city of atlanta we the state, we have myself and we have the school system , which are all separate. in the city of atlanta we started our snow treatment at 9:00 a.m . after getting our weathercast between 4 and 5. almost every photo that you just showed is not in the city of atlanta . in fact, within 24 hours the roads within the city of atlanta were more than 80% passable. i just reviewed your report and it focused almost exclusively on our city's highways, which the city does not have jurisdiction for, and most of those simply were not in the city of atlanta .

>> i'm trying not to play the blame game here but let me make it more general. did officials at one level or another fail to make proper calls based on accurate forecasts coming from the national wealth system.

>> matt, here's what happened. we made an error in the way we released our citizens. the state made a judgment to release state employees, private businesses made the judgment and aps made the call.

>> i think you were at lunch with the governor as it started to snow. did anyone talk to each other and say let's not release everybody at the same time?

>> i've already acknowledged that i think that was a mistake and i was at lunch, but i had already ordered our streets to start being pretreated by 9:00 a.m . which is why on yesterday if the cameras focused on the city limits , they would have seen 80% of our streets were passable . the streets in the city of atlanta are clear. we've had zero fatalities, more than 790 accidents and reunited all of the children of atlanta with their families. the photos you're showing right now aren't in the city of atlanta .

>> they're obviously in the area of atlanta .

>> then y'all should say that, matt.

>> okay, i'm saying it now. it's the surrounding area. it's easy for people in the northeast to sit up here because we're kind of used to snowstorms and maybe snicker and say this is the result of inexperience. did a lack of experience with this kind of weather on a regular basis play a role here?

>> i think that it certainly play as role. we don't have severe weather events of this kind often in the city of atlanta or in georgia. so i think it's fair to say that it definitely played a role. but the city of atlanta invested $2.5 million in snow equipment, and that is the reason that right now our streets are passable.

>> and real quickly, nobody loves monday morning quarterback, i'm sure you don't like it right now, but the only thing useful from a monday morning quarterback is lessons. what's learned from this?

>> matt, what is learned from this is that the state, the city, the school board and our private businesses need to stagger releasing our citizens to go home during severe weather events. i think it would have made a major difference if we had released our school and parents first, if private business had been left second and then if government had left last sending home nonessential employees and retaining the employees we needed to keep our city safe.

>> i appreciate your time this morning. i know you're busy this morning.

>> thank you, i appreciate you.

>> the schools should have never been left in to begin with.

>> they had the first warning at --

>> 3:30 a.m . enough time to cancel school.