Why No Confidence?
Integrity: Adherence to moral and ethical principles, soundness of moral character, honesty. (I have no fault with Mr. Olson’s integrity, it is his competence to complete the task at hand and his inability to understand who he really serves)
Mistake: An error in action, calculation, opinion or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge. (The incident with Ms. Nichols was no mistake. This was a deliberate action to get someone in trouble for sending email from her account)
1) Mr. Olson was not hired through a competitive search. He began in September of 2013 as the initiatives coordinator with no supervisory function. After less than 12 months, he was moved up to Assistant City Administrator, and only 7 months later he was made the City Administrator. No searches were conducted and no public involvement was ever sought.
2) Mr. Olson lacks relevant experience. Prior to becoming the City Administrator, he had only 7 months as the Assistant City Administrator. Prior experience was primarily military staff positions which differ greatly from local government. As a former military officer, I can tell you that commanding troops is far different than managing local government.
3) Mr. Olson does not understand public service. The definition of public service is “the business of supplying an essential commodity, such as gas or electricity, or a service such as transportation to the general public.” Mr. Olson’s view indicates he believes public service is government against the citizens. This is evidenced by his decision to communicate with another governmental entity rather than a citizen.
4) Mr. Olson’s Allegiance to the Navy and policy is stronger than his allegiance to the citizens of Pensacola.
5) Mr. Olson puts the city at risk through enacting policies without legal review that may subject the city to liability such as the case with his policy in the wake of inappropriate contact with Ms. Nichols’ supervisor related to federal email usage. Barbara Peterson from the First Amendment Foundation questioned the legality of Mr. Olson’s policy.
6) Mr. Olson unduly burdens city employees (even those not under his functional control, COO) with onerous policies that require them to become federal police monitoring email and determining what is official and what is not. This flies in the face of transparency and seeks to shade our operations from certain members of the public who likely have permission from supervisors to conduct such business on public accounts.
7) Mr. Olson works beyond the scope of his designated employment, taking time away from critical management functions in the Pensacola Police Department and the Pensacola Fire Department, where we have a long term interim chief who is not providing clear direction for the department. Under Mr. Olson’s watch, a police video was released the same day it was filmed without proper review and seemingly without his knowledge.
8) Mr. Olson violated the City of Pensacola Human Resources Manual and City’s Ethical Standards and Code of Conduct through his actions related to Ms. Nichols. Page 108 of the HR Manual states that “The continued success of City Governments is dependent on the trust of residents, businesses and others we serve. We are committed to preserving that trust. Each employee must recognize that the actions of any one employee can enhance or damage the reputation of all city employees. Each employee owes a duty to the City of Pensacola (not the Navy) to act in a way that will merit the continued trust and confidence of the public.” Mr. Olson’s actions have adversely affected the confidence of the public in the integrity of the City of Pensacola.”
9) Mr. Olson lacks an adequate understanding of what is expected from those who manage city and county governments. His actions violate Tenet 3 of the International City/County Management Association Code of Ethics. It states that members should be “dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public.” Members should conduct themselves so as to maintain public confidence in their profession, their local government, and in their performance of the public trust.”
10) Mr. Olson sees nothing wrong with bypassing citizen communication in favor of what amounts to tattle tailing on a hard-working dedicated volunteer.
11) Mr. Olson’s reasoning for his decision could lead to other instances where he further wastes taxpayers money and time and denies access to public information. What is to keep him from policing other entities and using their policies against citizens who send email from those accounts.
In an interview, Mr. Olson stated the following:
“I don’t know why people get unsubstantiated allegations when they are trying to do the right thing.”
The problem is that Mr. Olson does not understand what the right thing is. He doesn’t understand that the right thing is to serve the citizens and provide them with answers and consideration. I am not confident in his ability to serve the citizens of this city.