The Pensacola City Council will consider during today’s Committee of the Whole meeting if it should investigate Mayor Ashton Hayward after the local police union approached it with concerns that he misused his position and complaints of intimidation.
The Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 71, requested last month that the city council investigate Hayward following an Oct. 19 Gallery Night incident during which the union asserts that the mayor intimidated officers. Hayward, along with his recent appointee to the Downtown Improvement Board, John Peacock, apparently approached officers with concerns about the manner in which they were moving pedestrians in order to reopen the street to vehicular traffic.
Following the FOP’s appearance before city council, Hayward issued a statement regarding the consistency of Gallery Night’s schedule, and also said he would be meeting privately with Police Chief Chip Simmons and members of city council in regards to the issue.
This afternoon, the city council is slated to discuss the FOP’s request. Members have requested Hayward’s “side of the story” and all related information pertaining to the Oct. 19 incident.
Also during today’s COW meeting, the council will be taking up the issue of funding for the West Florida Public Library System. The relocation of the westside library—or, rather, awarding construction services for the Legion Field Resource Center, which will house the library—is also on the agenda.
The council will also explore the option of retaining outside legal counsel. Council members are looking to such an option in the scenario that City Attorney Jim Messer has conflict of interests issues.
Today’s COW meeting begins immediately following the Community Redevelopment Agency meeting, which starts at 3:15 p.m. at Pensacola City Hall.