Some Say Mayor's Words Were Exaggerated - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Some Say Mayor's Words Were Exaggerated

Mayor Warr spoke Thursday morning in a symposium in Cromwell, Connecticut about things the city needs to think of that are not typical to crisis management.

And to illustrate these things, he spoke of what he did not expect to happen in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

According to an Associated Press reporter, Warr said he had to order his police chief to find someone in the local jail who could hot-wire a tanker truck the city was using to bring in fuel for generators.

He said the city printed its own currency after the storm to pay vendors because all the banks were closed.

He also said he had to dispatch guards to protect hospitals from mobs of drug addicts who no longer had a supply line to feed their addictions.

City Council president Barbara Nalley says she is simply in awe of what she says is not completely true.

"I can say with certainty that the city of Gulfport did not print it's own currency. The only thing that we did was to cut checks, which is not abnormal, to vendors after the storm.And at one point we did have Bancorp South who was one of our bankers, bring in funds to cash payroll checks for city employees. To my knowledge, there was no hotwiring going on, and I have spoken to the chief. I'd be glad to share that with you. There was no hotwiring of any vehicles that occurred in the city of Gulfport," said Nalley.

We also received a response from the hospitals regarding the "mobs of drug addicts" supposedly overruning the sites.

"We did ask for assistance a few days after the storm, and we appreciate the assistance we did receive from the city. It was strictly for crowd control, just for the number of people seeking care. It was just a precaution. Nothing really happened. No mobs of drug addicts. We had 600 to 700 people a day, and that's above our normal 100 to 140 people needing help," said Diane Gallagher of Memorial Hospital.

"We certainly were concerned but very pleased that nothing of a mob never materialized. We employed our own security, and we had some help from outside security," said Garden Park Hospital CEO William Peaks.

We did speak with Mayor Warr on his way back to Gulfport.

He says in regard to ordering someone to hotwire a tanker truck- "I instructed our staff to go fuel the delivery truck and bring it back to city hall. If they find a key, use a key. If not, hotwire it. we've got to keep the water on to the city. This was to run water pumps," said Warr.

The mayor also said, "We printed tokens with a monetary value on there so that our employees can get fuel to get to and from work. Remember the storm hit on August 29, so very few people had cash."

And in response to the comment about mobs at local hospitals, this is what Mayor Warr had to say:

"I received a call from someone associated from one of our local hospitals. asking for law enforcement personnel to be sent out.They believed that individuals were gathering outside the hospital with the intent of committing drug-related crimes.So I asked law enforcement personnel to go help."

Mayor Warr did say he believes his words may have been taken out of context.

By Karla Redditte

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