PODCAST: When a Tornado Strikes

In this episode of Local Gov Life, Tim Gleason, former city manager of Washington, Illinois, discusses how he managed the crisis of an EF-4 tornado striking his community.

Attribution: State Farm - Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/hDZCu2It has been four years since one of the worst tornado outbreaks struck the state of Illinois. The rare event resulted in 20+ tornadoes, hundreds being injured, several fatalities, and millions of dollars' worth of damage.

In this episode of Local Gov Life, Tim Gleason, former city manager of Washington, Illinois, sits down with ICMA to discuss how he managed the crisis of an EF-4 tornado striking his community of 16,000 residents - the leadership lessons learned, the behind-the-scenes decisions made, and the emotions of that fateful November day. 

Ultimately, the 2013 tornado was a lesson in being prepared for the worst and being able to make quick-thinking decisions. Four years later, has the community recovered? 

You can listen to the episode by clicking the "play" button below or by downloading it in iTunes or Google Play Music. Subscribe now so you don't miss future episodes!

 

Takeaways:

  • That thing called intuition? Trust it. 
  • Be prepared to make early decisions. 
  • Think debris removal first and foremost for your residents. 
  • Sometimes controversial decisions are good decisions. 

Quotable Mentions: 

"I had a feeling... it wasn't a bad feeling at the time but I knew we had to pay attention to the weather."

"I have a 25-year law enforcement background before I persued a second career as a city manager. I really believe that helped me at this time - at this community's greatest need."

"Some of the debris from Washington was found as far north as Chicago on the rail yard."

"The mayor did an excellent job of allowing our staff to do our job."

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Local Gov Life highlights successful programs and projects that enhance the quality of life in our communities. Each episode features a changing cast of local government experts from public and private sector backgrounds, who together encompass years of experience in getting things done and achieving results. Catch up on all individual episodes at icma.org/podcast or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music.

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