Pensacola Politics

Free Ashton sticker for sale online, Messer weighs in

November 15, 2012

The Independent News has the perfect stickers for citizens to voice their take on Pensacola City Council’s attempt to put Mayor Ashton Hayward on trial for allegedly losing his temper with a city employee at the end of the October Gallery Night. On Cafepress (here), we have “Free Ashton” and “Let Our Mayor Go” stickers.

City Attorney Jim Messer has weighed in on the possible investigation of Mayor Ashton Hayward. He worries that the council has presumed that the mayor is guilty and certain council members are bias or prejudiced against Hayward. Both of which taint the integrity of any investigation.

He writes that until there are sworn statements that the Mayor did something illegal, unethical or contrary to the Charter imposed duties, “there is simply nothing to investigate.”

After an analysis of any sworn statements, the Council determines if any violation of the charter has happened. Also, the Council has to determine if the Charter gives them any power to discipline the mayor, what would be the form of that discipline and how it can be enforced.

Read Messer on Investigation.

  • Donna November 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    So tired of the ” good ole boy” mentality in our town! That’s right! Our town. The cops and council need to behave. We elected our Mayor! Now stop pouting and get behind him and let’s take Pensacola forward

  • CJ Lewis November 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    The City Council should hire a well-respected outside attorney like Ken Bell, Janet Landers or Margaret Stopp to issue the subpoenas, conduct an objective fact-finding investigation and prepare a report chronicling all aspects of the October 19th Gallery Night.

    One issue that may become clearer as an authoritative chronology of events is put together, complete with a trail of documents, is why the city staff failed to tell Mayor Hayward that they had issued, to the DIB on his behalf, a permit for Gallery Night to be conducted from 5 to 9 pm. Someone sure screwed up not keeping the boss informed. Heads should roll.

    As part of the investigation, the Council should review the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board Act, contained in Subpart B – Related Special Acts of the City Code,
    that has not yet been updated to confirm it to the new Charter. This was a task the last Council failed to accomplish in 2010.

    The Mayor described in the DIB Act is the non-executive Mayor stretching back to Mayor Eugene Elebash (1972). Mayor Hayward seems to too hopefully believe he is both the old non-executive Mayor and the new executive Mayor. He can’t have it both ways.

    In coming months, the Council should adopt a resolution requesting the State Legislature amend the DIB Act subsituting “Council President” for “Mayor” in about five places within the nearly 5,600 word document.

    Importantly, as evidence that Hayward wrongly usurped the Council President’s power, Council President Maren DeWeese made the first appointment (Councilman Brian Spencer) to the DIB under the new form of government. Hayward rightly then said nothing only later deciding to strong-arm the DIB power of appointment away from DeWeese and all future Council Presidents.

    Ultimately, the DIB no more works for Mayor Hayward than does the Pensacola Community Redevelopment Agency or the Community Maritime Park Associates, Inc. The City Council is by State law the governing body of the DIB. If the Charter Review Commission had intended that the DIB work for the Mayor, it would have proposed that change in the Charter but did not.

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