So, Augustas Emergency Management Director Dave Dlugolenski has called it quits and hoofed it out of the area for greener federal pastures?
Columbia County residents, thrilled since March 1999 with the hiring of Pam Tucker as EMA director, must shake their heads in disbelief - or say We told you so.
Its been obvious in the past three years that Columbia County got the best of that deal. It was early in 1999 that Augusta officials snubbed Tuckers well-justified request for higher salary and demonstrated incredible disrespect for such a highly regarded emergency expert.
Rather than stay where she wasnt appreciated, Tucker came to Columbia County where shes been welcomed with open arms. Shes more than repaid the hospitality. Clearing up turmoil that marked EMA before her arrival, Tucker has done a phenomenal job - first with Y2K planning (remember that?) and with meticulously detailed emergency drills for everything from train accidents to nuclear waste. Tucker has also been a tireless volunteer in the countys community events.
Augusta certainly didnt distinguish itself after Tuckers departure. City officials hired the barely experienced Dlugolenski to replace Tucker - and adding insult to injury, paid him more than Tucker had sought when she asked for a raise!
Whereas Tucker has elevated Columbia Countys emergency preparedness, Dlugolenski has done little more than spin his wheels and engage in thinly veiled sniping at Tucker as if she were his competition rather than a fellow emergency worker. Hes now styled himself as something of an expert on homeland security, the countrys post-9-11 buzzwords, and snubbed his nose at Augusta to work for the federal government.
Augusta should take a little more effort this time in finding his replacement. Wed suggest they ask Tucker for her advice, but as they wouldnt listen to her before, we certainly dont expect them to heed it now.
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