News Pensacola

Bare asserts Friday meeting was unlawful, asks for more citizen input. Plus there is an ironic twist

January 25, 2013

Pensacola Councilman Charles Bare issued the following press release to the media this afternoon:

Adjourning Today’s Meeting Provides More Time for Citizen Input and Participation

PENSACOLA, January 25, 2013 — This morning, seven members of the city council assembled in a committee of the whole meeting prepared to discuss the Mayor’s appointee to the Restore Act Advisory Committee. The only problem was that the Mayor or his staff members do not have the ability to call a meeting of the committee of the whole. The Mayor is only able to call a meeting of the full Council and not committees. Because this issue had been referred to the committee of the whole, our meeting was not lawfully called.

Within the first 30 seconds of the meeting, I moved to adjourn. My reasoning was the fact that citizens did not have enough time to give input or have adequate notice of this meeting (called just 12 hours after our meeting last night). This motion failed and we began a discussion of whether this meeting was even called in a lawful manner. The City Attorney weighed in and cited our rules and procedures allowing the Mayor to call meetings of the Committee of the Whole. Unfortunately, the City Attorney did not have the most recent version of the Rules. He was reading from the rules that applied in the previous governance structure.

After some discussion, I asked the council to consider a motion to adjourn and to reconvene at the call of the chair next week. This motion passed. I want to thank my fellow council members for putting the citizens first. Moving our meeting to next week will give citizens more time to make their voices heard. It will also provide a better time frame for them to be able to adjust schedules to attend our next meeting.

It is also my hope that within this time city residents will voice their opinions about the mayor’s selection of Mr. David Penzone for this position. Mr. Penzone’s status as a consultant to the city and the fact that he does not live in the city limits are both concerns. I am hopeful that the Mayor will consider additional appointees as we make this critical decision for the future of Pensacola.

Note: I can’t help but see the irony in some of the council members crying for more citizen input after the previous city council appointed Maren Deweese without accepting any nominations from their districts and no other input. However, Charles Bare wasn’t on the council when Larry Johnson nominated Deweese and the council approved her appointment unanimously.

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  • CJ Lewis January 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Under the Charter, the Mayor’s power to call for a meeting of the Council is limited to Special meetings and Emergency meetings. The Mayor has no authority to call for the meeting of a committee subordinate to the Council. The Charter expressly grants the authority to call for a Special or Emergency meeting of the Council to the Mayor with no reference to the nebulous “Office of the Mayor” or one of Hayward’s underlings.

    City Administrator Reynolds, City Attorney Messer and Council President Wu all regularly demonstrate that they are ignorant of the Charter and the Rules & Procedures of the City Council. Messer really showed himself to be a buffoon at this morning’s meeting citing the Council’s old Rules & Procedures from 2010 and before.

    Last night, Reynolds demanded, on behalf of the “Mayor’s Office,” a meeting of the Council’s subordinate Committee of the Whole. Reynolds had no authority to exercise the Mayor’s Charter authority let alone call for a subordinate committee meeting. A passive Wu, clearly under the yoke of Reynolds, showed why he is unfit to serve as Council President. He said and did nothing. He should have ruled Reynolds out of order.

    Hayward’s seat should have been empty last night. Under the Charter, Hayward has no power to delegate any of his Charter powers and duties to include his obligation, “To attend all meetings of the City Council with authority to participate in discussions, but without power to vote.”

    At the start of the meeting, the Very Reverend Peter McLaughlin prayed for Mayor Hayward during the Invocation perhaps unmindful that Hayward was absent. The first public speaker, a cousin of Quint Studer, addressed Reynolds as if he were the Mayor, perhaps not knowing the difference. The Council should direct the City Attorney to provide a legal memorandum explaining why he believes the Mayor can delegate his Charter powers and duties.

    Kudos to Council members Bare, Myers, Pratt, Johnson and Wingate for defending the Charter against Hayward, Reynolds, Messer, Wu and Terhaar. If Cannada-Wynn and Spencer had been present, they would have been against the Charter too.

  • Richard Hawkins January 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I thought the irony was going to be a motion to adjourn a meeting that does not exist.

    Will there be minutes?

    Will someone send this release to the Florida Attorney General and ask for a Sunshine investigation (two or more, matter of foreseeable action)?

  • Look at me January 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    And the soap opera continues – same channel, new actors

  • Jessica January 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Mr. Bare’s concerns may not be popular, but his concern with Mr. Penzone making over $40,000 in wages from the City seems like a legitimate concern to me — if the spot specifically says it is not to be filled by a City employee. Maybe he technically isn’t – but that’s just symantics. I believe the spirit/intention is to have someone not beholden to the City in any manner.

  • Pistols January 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Government by press release – this is rich