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Make storm response positive, productive

3:49 PM, Sep. 20, 2013  |  Comments
A fast moving overnight storm damaged vehicles, damaged homes and downed trees as it passed through the Fox Cities on Aug. 7.
A fast moving overnight storm damaged vehicles, damaged homes and downed trees as it passed through the Fox Cities on Aug. 7.

In the four weeks since our early August storms, we have suffered finger-pointing, buck-passing, threats of job termination, calls for independent investigations and general vitriol from community members and government officials alike. Have we become so engaged in our litigious society that we put blame for problems ahead of their solution?

I suggest an alternative approach: Let's take a page from the concept of "restorative justice," the intent of which is to acknowledge and analyze problems with the goal of moving forward on a more positive, supportive and productive path. Have all the players meet in an open, safe and professional environment. Make it OK to admit mistakes without fear of job loss or reprimand.

Our elected officials and government employees certainly have the expertise to assess what happened and modify procedures and communication to improve response in the future, without the need for an independent investigation. Mistakes were made - we all make them. Let's move forward on a positive path.

Keep in mind that sirens don't stop a storm. They wouldn't keep our power on or diminish the $31 million in property damage.

Mother Nature is powerful and unpredictable. As humans, we should know that and be prepared for surprises.

David Debbink,

Appleton

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