On Sunday, PNJ reporter Joe Baucum wrote about how Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward chose not to implement an energy-efficient project approved by the Pensacola City Council that would have paid for itself in nine years.
It looks like the program may have been a casualty of Hayward’s turnover in his office staff and his office’s overall dysfunction.
On Nov. 13, 2012, the city council approved the selection of Siemens Industry to complete an investment grade energy audit of City Facilities, excluding the airport, and bring back for consideration an energy and savings performance-based contract. It was presented by City Administrator Bill Reynolds and Sustainability Administrator Clark Merritt.
Twenty months later, July 17, 2014, the council was given an update on the audit by Matt Ridley of Siemens. The staff contacts were City Administrator Colleen Castille and Merritt, who had been reassigned as Port Business Development Manager.
According to the Memo from Mayor Hayward: “The results of the energy audit were reviewed by staff and working with City Departments a decision was finalized to implement lightning and water conservation improvements which will be incorporated into a performance-based contract.”
The proposal was to be presented to the Pensacola City Council in August. However, Castille resigned abruptly on August 15. The contract was never brought to the council.
According to the PNJ article, CFO Dick Barker, who served as interim administrator, notified Siemens in 2014 that the mayor chose not to finalize the contract. A review of council minutes for council meeting from August 2014-December 2014 found no mention that the negotiations had stopped. Barker’s monthly financial presentations do not mention the negotiations or their termination. It appears the public and council were never notified the audit recommendations weren’t going to be implemented.
Barker and Mayor Hayward refused to answer questions from the News Journal about the decision.