Mayor Andrew Gillum apologizes to angry residents of Tallahassee

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum held an emergency meeting Tuesday with city commissioners, city employees and state workers to discuss the after-math of Hurricane Hermine.

Gillum emphasized the importance of preparation and his regret that the city wasn’t better prepared for the storm.

“We will do everything we can to make sure that all of the necessary reforms are made to ensure that the next time this happens, we are prepared and able especially if the scale of the impact is to grow larger than what we have experienced in this storm,” Gillum said.

Hermine was a category one hurricane, with winds up to 80mph. It made landfall in St. Marks in neighboring Wakulla County at approximately 1:45 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2. After she battered Florida’s Gulf Coast, more than 70,000 households were left without electricity.

Gillum also spoke on the issue of the city’s power grid being 120 years old.

“Yes, it is an old system, but it has a lot of updated technology,” Gillum said.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo spoke from a positive point of view, and praised his officers for working over-time.

“The crime rate dropped in the days surrounding the hurricane, and my officers never failed to respond to priority one calls,” DeLeo said.

Communication from authorities to the public seemed to have been the issue. Although power was restored to thousands of households within the first few days after the storm, many residents who attended the meeting were still without power.

“I don’t want to hear about people working over-night. That is your job. That is what you are paid to do. You don’t get a pat on the back for doing what you’re supposed to do,” local resident Katie Peshek said.

Currently power restoration and street clean-ups are still being conducted by the city. As of Thursday afternoon around 1,200 residents were still without power.