Simple tasks still hard for Mayor Hayward

January 25, 2013

The city of Pensacola has one position on the Escambia County RESTORE Advisory Committee. The appointment needs to made before Jan. 31. The only requirement for the member is that the person not be a city employee or contract employee.

Mayor Ashton Hayward has had five months to present his pick for the advisory committee. Nine days before the deadline, City Administrator Bill Reynolds tells the city council at its Committee of the Whole meeting that David Penzone, who headed the mayor’s pension advisory and parlayed that into a consulting job with the city, is his pick.

Hayward could have put something in the council’s agenda packet, which was distributed on Jan. 15. Instead he waited two days after the daily newspaper printed its profile of Penzone. The mayor intentionally gave the council little time to review his choice.

And while Reynolds told Nate Monroe of the PNJ that Penzone meets the county’s requirements, why did Hayward choose someone that dances around those requirements?

I guess he will argue this morning that the consulting contract is with Penzone’s company so technically the businessman is not a contract employee. Or he might say that Penzone’s contract is no longer active. (Note:The last check to his company is dated Jan. 3, 2013)

However, mayor’s selection brings up other issues. He has established four advisories: Port of Pensacola, Pensions, Urban Redevelopment and Veteran’s Park. None of the chairpersons have been female or a minority.

While I don’t believe every single appointment or hire by Hayward has to be a city resident, the RESTORE advisory committee is unique. It will be making recommendations on what to do with more than $100 million.

The citizens of the city of Pensacola need to be at that table—not just someone beholden to the mayor. In this instance, the people’s voices are more important that the mayor’s agenda. Hayward has other ways to get his points before the county commission.

There should have been no melodrama or backroom politics with this selection.

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  • Moose January 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    It’s amazing how some of you who simply wanted the council to just approve the nominee in the meeting on Friday morning completely disregard the fact that the meeting wasn’t a lawful meeting in the first place. Therefore, any actions voted on would have been null and void. Furthermore, the county already issued an opinion that the nominee is a contract employee of the city and therefore the committe would not be able to consider any project funding for Pensacola. Their opinion of his employement status trumps whatever opinion the city attorny might hold. In essence, we would be better off having a chimpanzee serving on the committee. It would at least afford us the ability to fund projects from the RESTORE act within Pensacola.

  • Chatter January 26, 2013 at 9:31 am

    PC needs to get better at calling for votes and discourage the posturing, pontificating and pointless jibber jabber that have become the hallmarks of city council meetings. Bare’s push for citizen input is a cop out. You were elected to exhibit leadership – don’t let the nuts who show up for public forum run the asylum.

  • Jessica January 25, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    It has nothing to do with being the best candidate. But to believe that a white male is the best candidate nearly 100% of the time? C’mon…

  • downtown don January 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Not sure what being a woman or a minority has to do with being the best candidate for the job. In fact, special consideration has been challenged as prejudicial. If a person is qualified, then it is up to them to demonstrate their qualifications to those who are in a decision making position. The amount of melonin in the skin or ones chromosome pattern is not a measure of ability.

  • Jessica January 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Glad someone else has noticed the City’s failure to appoint qualifies women and minorities to important positions.
    When Cynthia Williams departed, a male was hired to replace her (and did NOT have a masters degree in the field of work, nor two decades of experience working Sustainability issues) yet he was given a salary of $10,000 more a year, an office on the 7th floor (though I believe he has since been moved), and a ‘Chief’ position. Perhaps it is because he previously worked for Congressmen Miller? It’s certainly not because of his reputation among the sustainability community.

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