News Pensacola Politics

No Statement from Mayor on FOP’s Accusations

October 26, 2012

A day after the local police union requested that the Pensacola City Council investigate Mayor Ashton Hayward for misusing his office to intimidate officers, a city spokesman said that there would be no statement issued regarding the matter.

City of Pensacola Public Information Officer Derek Cosson said late this afternoon that Mayor Hayward would not be making a statement at this time about the claims and request made last night by the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 71.

The FOP related to council last night an incident that occurred during the Oct. 19 Gallery Night event. The union recounted officers’ accounts of Mayor Hayward taking issue with the fact that streets were being reopened to vehicular traffic at 9 p.m.—he allegedly compared the police’s methods of clearing the street to “Beirut” and demanded that an officer “get on his police radio and tell the supervisor to relax.”

The city council requested more information, including an account of the evening from Hayward. The board will consider an investigation during its Nov. 13 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Earlier today, Cosson said that the city may be issuing a statement on the matter. Prior to that—early this morning—the spokesman had said that there would be no statement, that the matter would probably be handled internally.

“In any other work place this is the kind of issue that would be handled internally,” Cosson said initially. “This is an issue that any organization would handle internally. I think that’s the way the mayor would like to handle this.”

The spokesman said he did not know if the mayor would be issuing a public statement on the FOP’s position in the future.

  • Hi there October 27, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    The Mayor has appointed Brian Spencer, Corbert Davis and John Peacock to the DIB during the course of the last year. Peacock nominated Davis for Chairman of DIB at the last regular meeting. The nomination was pushed by Spencer at the meeting although he serves as a non-voting member. Never
    Mind that Davis has quit the DIB on at least 2 prior occasions. Never mind that then current Chairman Burney Merrill had 7 months left on his term. Merrill would not follow the Mayor’s agenda so he had to go. Merrill navigated the DIB through several very important initiatives during his terms as DIB chair and he was sent packing in a very unceremonious and abrupt manner in exchange for his dedicated service. Kimbrough was sent to seek greener pastures via a departure engineered by the Mayor’s chief of staff. Kimbrough was smart enough to correctly read the tea leaves and made a graceful exit. ZNext step of the hostile takeover is for the Mayor’s Urban Development Advisory Committee to recommend various measures that will serve to gut the DIB and shift most of it’s current responsibilities to the CRA that is chaired by, drumroll please, ardent Hayward supporter Brian Spencer. Is it a coincidence that the author of the URAC report, URAC “advisor” Chuck Tessier, was until just recently working out of an office on the seventh floor of City Hall? I think not. The sad part is that there are some very dedicated and well intentioned citizens sitting on the URAC. Let’s hope they do not sign off on the report about to be placed in front of them by the Mayor’s straw man.

    power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • Leroy Carter October 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

    If I am not mistaken when a police car activates their lights the dash cam starts running. It probably wouldn’t show any video but should record the conversation Peacock and the Mayor had with the officers.

  • CJ Lewis October 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Were the police officers working for the City at Gallery Night or were they “off duty” performing “law enforcement functions” for the DIB? Their Collective Bargaining Agreements have detailed procedures for Secondary Employment.

    If the police officers were working for the DIB, shouldn’t they take their directions from the DIB Executive Director, or her designee, because she is the CEO of the DIB. There can only be one person making the executive decisions at the DIB. She doesn’t need the Mayor let alone five or six busy-body Board members mucking around in her business.

    According to State law, the Mayor plays no role in the operation of the DIB. Hayward’s very limited role until the DIB Act is reviewed and updated by the Council to finally bring it into conformance with the new Charter, formally assigning the appointment power to the Council President, is make appoints of people only the Council can remove. If a Board member ticks off Hayward, he has no power to remove them.

    Neither Hayward nor Peacock had any right to boss around the DIB’s permanent or contract employees and especially not off-duty police officers just trying to earn a few extra dollars working for the DIB. Does Hayward give orders to the city police officer working part-time at WalMart? No.

    Moreover, Peacock is a member of the DIB’s legislative body and just like a City Council member should not be giving orders to DIB employees. Peacock should let the executive leaders lead, stick to his limited policy making role and not interfere with the administration of the DIB.

  • What a Joke October 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    OK — Let’s get real. This isn’t any other work place. This is the City of Pensacola & citizens pay the salaries of all involved — except Peacock who should never have been involved. He’s just a member of the DIB. The Mayor owes the citizens of Pensacola a response — and he should meet with the police officers. He doesn’t seem to respect them & the job they do. It wasn’t their fault that the street had to be re-opened at 9:00.