Goliad city, county need to get along

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Dec. 27, 2017 at 4:15 p.m.
Updated Dec. 28, 2017 at 6 a.m.

When a city leader decides to abruptly end a contract that allows residents access to emergency resources, a couple of questions come to mind. Did they have a good reason for doing so? Do they have a plan to ensure residents don't see any drop in quality of services?

Unfortunately, Goliad mayor Trudia Preston's recent decision to end an emergency management contract with Goliad County doesn't give us confidence on either front.

The reason for the decision is tough to pin down. The mayor insists it has nothing to do with anyone's work during Hurricane Harvey. Christy Bear, who's now the emergency management coordinator just for the county, thinks the mayor may have been pressured by city council members.

And at least one council member thinks the decision was the result of poor management during - wait for it - Hurricane Harvey.

This kind of confusion is worrisome, to say the least. For something as important as deciding who provides emergency management services, it's unacceptable.

What's even more unacceptable is that Preston gave Bear the boot without having an equally qualified official ready to take her place. Instead, the city's emergency management will be provided by Preston herself - whose credentials amount to a few emergency management classes - until the city hires a new coordinator. To suggest that the city's emergency management will be no worse off is ridiculous.

Another worrisome aspect of this shift in policy is it was made with no advance notice or input from other officials or residents. Preston simply announced in November that the contract was over.

As mayor, Preston has the right to make these decisions on her own, but that doesn't mean she should. The ending of this contract will affect all officials involved in the providing of crucial services during an emergency. More to the point, it affects the city residents who receive these services.

We hope the city will reconsider its contract with the county, which promotes efficiency by allowing the two to share resources. But if Preston has some kind of problem with the way the county does things, she should communicate with county officials to see whether those problems can be addressed. She should communicate with the people who elected her to figure out what would be best for them. And she should make sure, at all times, that emergency management in her city is being performed by someone qualified for the job.

That doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.


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