City manager Spelliscy, city planner Moody failed to contact FEMA
By Brad Smith
TALENT, Ore. -- Emails from FEMA indicate that in the weeks and months following the Almeda Fire, former city manager Sandra Spelliscy and city planner Zac Moody never contacted the agency.
In articles and news segments about the current controversy about FEMA looking at locations throughout the community suitable for temporary housing -- including Chuck Roberts Park, which has upset little league parents -- interim city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner has said, "This has been my priority from day one from my getting here. There is a lot of groundwork that needs to be done."
When asked about the situation, McLeod-Skinner said she wasn't "aware of what did or did not happen" prior to her taking over as interim city manager in January this year.
"If there were communications with other agencies, I'm not aware of it. I never had any contact with my predecessor before I took over," she said. "However, when I did reach out to some mobile park owners and regional agencies -- based on their feedback -- it was apparent that they hadn't heard from the city until I called."
According to an anonymous source -- someone who has worked as an interim city manager throughout Oregon and California over the years -- they were surprised by the apparent lack of action.
"I knew people who worked at Paradise (Calif.) and they reacted rapidly," they said. "Personally and professionally, I find it disturbing that no one took action. If they had, those FEMA trailers would be in place and displaced families living in them. A mayor can't do it all. That's why you have city staff to take the initiative and rake up the slack. That's what they're paid to do. As far as I'm concerned, someone screwed up. Badly. As it is, the city is fortunate to have (Mcleod-Skinner)."
Community development manager Moody resigned on Dec. 31 2020 and Spelliscy left in early January. When Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood was asked about events that led to Spelliscy's departure, she stated that she was "unable to comment on the reasons for separation."
As for why Spelliscy and Moody never contacted FEMA -- it might never be known. Meantime, FEMA is continuing its overview of viable locations for the temporary housing.
The Rogue Free Press has attempted to contact Moody. There has been no response.
It should be noted that Moody has been on the Phoenix-Talent Little League board and is one of the parents opposing the possible housing of displaced families at Chuck Roberts Park.
As new information comes forward, this article will be updated.