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Monday April 21st 2014

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Asmar steps down as Chief of Staff

City of Pensacola Press Release: The City of Pensacola announced today that John Asmar would step down as Chief of Staff and Special Counsel in order to devote more time to his private law practice.

Asmar was a member of Mayor Ashton Hayward’s transition team and joined the Office of the Mayor as Chief of Staff and Special Counsel in February 2011. As Chief of Staff, Asmar has served as an advisor to the mayor and managed special projects.

Hayward credited Asmar with helping him to establish the Office of the Mayor and to navigate the challenging transition to a new form of government.

“John’s work during the transition allowed me to quickly move forward with my agenda,” said Mayor Hayward. “Over the past two years, the face of our City government has changed significantly, and John’s support throughout this process has been invaluable. I appreciate all of John’s contributions and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

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John Asmar sent to the media the following statement in support of the announcement:

Recently, I have expressed to the Mayor my desire to return to my private legal practice. Two years ago when asked by the Mayor to serve his administration as Chief of Staff and special legal counsel, my intent was to serve in the capacity part time and up to a year. However, I quickly learned that the community’s desire for progress and change was not a part time job.

As a native of Pensacola, with deep family connections and a profound love for my community, I was honored to be asked to serve and I welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the historic event of establishing a new strong mayor form of government and assist Mayor Hayward in his desire to make a positive impact on our entire community.

I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish over the past two years. Not only did we change the City’s organization to reflect the citizen’s mandate for a new form of government but we also:

• Completed the construction of the Maritime Park, successfully negotiated with the Blue Wahoos to be our first tenant within the newly constructed Bayfront Baseball Stadium,

• Resolved the pension crisis facing our municipality,

• Increased the City’s tax base and population through a voluntary annexation program,

• Established the Office of Economic Opportunities and Sustainability and instituted an economic development incentive fund to lead the City’s economic development initiatives,

• Created a strategic plan for our Port and the Airport Industrial Park,

• Developed a 311 system to accommodate citizen access to their government,

• Negotiated the property transfer of the Escambia Treatment Site in order to develop one of the largest railhead industrial parks within the southeast,

• Strengthened the City’s code enforcement efforts to improve our neighborhoods,

• Addressed the need to demolish and/or find other uses for the areas abandoned schools,

• Implemented the Mayor’s monthly town hall meetings,

• Promoted natural gas as an alternative fuel for automobiles and power to facilities,

• Accelerated stormwater projects to build a healthy environment,

• Commenced the construction of the long waited resource centers at Legion Field and Woodland Heights,

• Improved the physical appearance of our community,

• Restored the citizen’s trust in their City government, and

• Completed a disparity study to highlight the community’s need to promote and mentor the minority business community.

All of which was accomplished with a reduction of the millage rate applied to our neighbors’ property values.

I thank Mayor Hayward for the opportunity to be a part of his administration and all of the City’s employees for their assistance and support.

Further, I express my deep appreciation and gratitude to Mayor Hayward’s wife, An, and son, Aiden, who have freely, without hesitancy, given up their family time spent with the Mayor for the betterment of the community. An and Aiden, along with my family and friends, provided me with the inspiration and support to stay focused and accomplish the objectives as directed and set forth by the Mayor.

Lastly, I thank the members of the past and present City Council and the citizens, my neighbors, for their public service, community involvement and commitment towards a successful progressive government serving the needs of us all.

As expressed to the Mayor, I will work with him and his administration for a smooth transition. In the event my services are needed, I stand ready to help. I look forward to the great things yet to come.

May God Bless our Mayor, the City Council and our community.

Sincerely,

John F. Asmar, Esquire