Do you feel safer?
Sept. 21, 2003
The city administration has just created a new local department of homeland security and put retiring Fire Chief Bunky Partridge in charge of it. According to Partridge, that means should, God forbid, a disaster occur, he would assume command of all emergency responses fire, police, EMS.
Meridian is the first city in Mississippi to create such a department, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and that's a good thing.
We would feel safer if city officials had told us that creation of this new department would better protect the citizens from terrorism, safeguard our resources and preserve the peace in a crisis. Unfortunately, as presented to the public, officials simply said such a department would be a better vehicle for obtaining federal grants. Presumably, it will compete for the kinds of grants that might have gone to the once-heralded Three I Corp., which the city took over amid some ethical questions about Partridge running both it and the Meridian Fire Department.
Meridian is a magnet for federal grants and, frankly, why shouldn't our officials go after federal largess.
But Meridian officials should also be mindful that federal grants tax money should actually achieve some purpose beyond creating federally-subsidized jobs for a favored few.