Pensacola

Hayward veto gets muddier

March 16, 2017

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has vetoed the Pensacola City Council action to begin the hiring process for a budget analyst. However, not only did the city voters authorize the position in the 2014 general election, but the Council approved a ordinance establishing the position in April 2016, according to the city’s code of ordinances.

If Mayor Hayward disagreed with the formation of the position, he should have vetoed Ordinance 10-16 – which created the position,identified the qualifications and established the salary range of $26,270 to $43,868. (BTW: The salary is less than what the mayor spent on the investigation of the fire chiefs last year and on par with the contract for his personal social media handler.)

Yesterday, Mayor Hayward’s PIO Vernon Stewart told the media,“All actions taken by the City Council that are not an ordinance are considered a resolution.”

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  • skip vogelsang March 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I can only think of one reason why this budget analyst would be so concerning to the mayor that he feels the need to veto it — FEAR

  • CJ Lewis March 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Obviously, Stewart is just as uninformed about municipal government and municipal law as is Hayward, and the Council too. Unexplainably, so are the City Attorney, the City Clerk and the Council Executive. In April 2016, the Council at last did what it had to do comply with the City Charter with respect to the Budget Analyst position expressly approved by voters in November 2014. That is not the issue. The Council could hire a person at any time but has refused to do so. What Cannada-Wynn did was propose a change to the qualifications and responsibilities of the Budget Analyst. The Budget Analyst position is already created by the Charter. What the Council has to do is “define the qualifications, pay and responsibilities” of the Budget Analyst position. It did so in April 2016 but now wants to do so again as evident by what Cannada-Wynn wrote in her Memorandum, “Attached is a proposal for qualifications, salary, and responsibilities.” What she proposes is a significant upgrade to the position. It seems a good idea but the way the Charter is written, it needs to adopt an ordinance to amend the existing ordinance. It is a dumb way to do things but that is how the Council wrote the Charter Amendment approved by voters, albeit only with respect to one position the Budget Analyst, so they are stuck with it until they change it. On top of all that, last week the Council voted also to change the way in which the Budget Analyst is removed from office, a procedure defined in the “voter-approved” Charter. Yes, the Council violated the Charter before but that does not make it legal. The only way to take that specific action is to amend the Charter. Why would you do so making it harder to get rid of a bad employee? If you ask the Florida Attorney General, she will tell you that except in rare cases, only voters can amend a Municipal Charter. The way forward for the Council seems one of three paths. First, it could go back and amend the April 2016 Budget Analyst ordinance. That was Cannada-Wynn’s intent however botched. Second, it could hire the Budget Analyst using the qualifications, salary and responsibilities described in the April 2016 ordinance. Third, it could do as Cannada-Wynn recommends but use a different part of the Charter to get the job done, specifically Section 4.02.(a)(6)(e) “Other Staff” taking an action that is not subject to veto. I think the better way to describe the position if Section 4.02.(a)(6)(e) is used is Legislative Budget Director. However, the Council could also get the job done rebranding the position as “Senior Budget Analyst” distinguishing it from the “Budget Analyst” described in Section 4.02.(a)(6)(a). If Hayward is upset, he knows the way to the courthouse. The Council just needs to quit messing around and get on with it.