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Emergency response to oil spill shows leadership

Posted: December 19, 2013 - 10:58am
SUBMITTED PHOTO  Metroplan's Executive Director Jim McKenzie (center) presents Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland (left) and Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson (right) with the 2013 Jack Evans Regional Leadership Award.
SUBMITTED PHOTO Metroplan's Executive Director Jim McKenzie (center) presents Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland (left) and Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson (right) with the 2013 Jack Evans Regional Leadership Award.

LITTLE ROCK — Because of their exemplary leadership, response and continued dedication to the oil spill cleanup from the Pegasus Pipeline rupture earlier this year in Mayflower, Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson and Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland received the 2013 Jack Evans Regional Leadership Award from Metroplan.

The awards were presented at the Dec. 18 Metroplan Board of Directors meeting.

Dodson, Holland and their county and city crews responded immediately on March 29 when the Exxon pipeline ruptured in Mayflower. An estimated five thousand barrels of tar sands oil spilled from the pipeline into a residential neighborhood and rapidly moved toward Lake Conway. As a result, 22 homes were evacuated. The cooperative leadership from Dodson and Holland led to the rapid response of dispatching local emergency crews to contain the oil spill, preventing contamination of the main body of Lake Conway and mitigating the environmental degradation of the area. In the weeks that followed the spill, Dodson served as the local coordinator of the Unified Command, an emergency coordinated plan organized by local and federal authorities including the EPA.

Upon receiving the award, Holland said he could not have done his job without Dodson.

“There is no better person to stand with you than Allen Dodson,” he said. “We had fifteen-hour days. Our local people were the ones who stopped it and I’m proud of our local people from our street department, fire department and first responders.”

Dodson reciprocated the thankful comments and said Holland was a joy to work with.

“If you could take one thing away from our response, [it] is to trust your people because it’s your people who are going to make a difference,” he said. “I don’t know anyone more humble than Mayor Randy Holland and he’s so gracious. I appreciate his leadership and his calming influence on his community. No one has ever seen anything like this. I want to thank your street department and volunteer fire department. They don’t have the resources that a larger city would have and they just pulled together like Arkansans would.”

The Metroplan Board established the Jack Evans Regional Leadership Award in 1993 to honor the late Mayor Jack Evans of Sherwood. Any private citizen, public official, company, civic group or institution that meets the criteria of outstanding public service advancing sound planning and intergovernmental cooperation in central Arkansas is eligible for the award. Past recipients include Pulaski County Judge F.G. “Buddy” Villines, Lonoke County Judge Don Bevis, former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays, Hugh McDonald of Entergy, Joe Ford of Alltel, Congressman Vic Snyder, State Representatives Preston Scroggin and Jane English, Central Arkansas Water, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Hendrix College.

Metroplan is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for the four-county region of Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski and Saline counties. It is a voluntary association of local government that has operated since 1955.

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