More than 100 homeowners, clutching manila file folders full of hurricane-related paperwork, newspaper reporters and other interested persons milled around the Fort Pierce, Fla. City Hall on March 11 waiting for Florida’s CFO Tom Gallagher to arrive for the “Consumer Awareness Happening” sponsored by the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Florida Association of Occupational Licensing – he didn’t make it.
Donna Pooler, an insurance analyst in the West Palm Beach office of the Florida Department of Financial Services was Gallagher’s only representative at the meeting.
The Fort Pierce office of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers received a fax March 10 indicating Gallagher would be in town for the meeting. A representative in Gallagher’s Tallahassee office confirmed the information.
Tami Torres, Gallagher’s spokeswoman, denied Friday afternoon that Gallagher was never scheduled to be in Fort Pierce. He attended a similar town hall meeting Thursday evening in Sebastian, which drew about 600 people.
“He was never invited (to the Fort Pierce event) by the city of Fort Pierce. There was a miscommunication somewhere,” Torres said.
She said Gallagher’s office is planning another public meeting April 2, possibly in North Palm Beach.
City Commissioner Rufus Alexander took offense at a perceived lack of concern by state officials for the area’s post-hurricane plight.
“I don’t know where they (the state) get the impression that we’re OK,” he told Pooler. “We’re a community that’s still healing.”
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