With more snow approaching, New York mayor vows preparedness

NEW YORK Thu Jan 6, 2011 5:50pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - With New York City facing another likely snowstorm this weekend, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed on Thursday that improvements have been made to avoid the mishandled mess that was made of last week's massive storm.

Bloomberg, who has been widely criticized for the many streets that went unplowed and the transportation systems that ground to a halt, said the city is better prepared for snow.

An accumulation of roughly six inches is expected in the New York region on Friday.

The city is adding GPS trackers to determine where sanitation trucks are during snow cleanup and adding personnel in the field to monitor cleanup progress, the mayor said.

"While I realize there were problems with the city's snow cleaning efforts last week, I want to assure all New Yorkers we are doing everything in our power to make sure we don't experience those problems again," Bloomberg said at a City Hall news conference.

The city had some 20 inches of snow last week.

On Wednesday, the city demoted John Peruggia, the chief of emergency services for the past six years.

"I decided that this city would be better off with a different person in charge," Bloomberg said. "I thought it was time for a change and I made that change."

Peruggia is the first city official to be disciplined for the storm.

A federal and several local investigations are underway to see if there were deliberate efforts to slow the snow cleanup last week and if several deaths could have been prevented.

(Reporting by Aman Ali; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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