‘Biggest Week So Far’

By Jeremy Morrison, Inweekly

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson is in his third week in office. It’s a week, the mayor said Monday morning, that he considers one of the most important thus far.

“The biggest week so far,” the mayor said during his weekly press conference.

Robinson considers this week important because it is the first time he meets with the Pensacola City Council, and also because he plans to reach out to other jurisdictions throughout the week. In addition to sitting with council for its Monday and Thursday meetings, the mayor plans to meet with his counterparts in both Gulf Breeze and Milton, as well as with Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May.

The meeting with Escambia County — from whence Robinson came, having served on the Board of Commissioners for 12 years— will likely be a regular affair. The mayor said he’d like to meet once or twice a month with county officials and staff to see where the two entities might work together on certain efforts; on Tuesday, Robinson plans to discuss with May two areas of possible coordination with Escambia County.

Panhandling & Homelessness

First, there’s the issues of homelessness, as well as panhandlers in the city. Robinson said that the issues were both separate and related, and signaled that along with ordinances addressing panhandling, officials in the city and county should work together towards a solution to deal with the area’s homelessness, mentioning specifically the need for a come-as-you-are shelter.

“I do believe that it is essential that we work together with the county and create some kind of masterplan for how we deal that will really tackle not only ordinances issues for us to deal with panhandling but to come forward with a plan and probably some funding to tackle homelessne,” Robinson said.

Employee Health Clinic

The second item Robinson said he wanted to discuss with the county pertained to employee wellness. He said that it might be worth considering partnering with the county so that city employees would have access to county health services. Though he said such an effort would depend on budgetary realities, the mayor said that giving employees access to health services would be beneficial in multiple ways.

“What we saw at the county was it helped slowdown the acceleration for the cost of health insurance for our employees by us having that opportunity to be able to catch things faster, solve things faster, ” said the mayor. “Having that amenity e for the employees also really helped us save money.” 

Triumph, Burgess and more

Other items covered during the morning press conference included:

  • the deadline extension secured Friday from Triumph Gulf Coast in the city’s pursuit of funding for the ST Engineering project at the airport; 
  • Triumph’s dismal feedback relating to  potential marine research center slated for the Port of Pensacola and the need to reframe the importance of research oriented projects to better sell the project;
  • the possibility of using office space in city hall to accommodate meetings of the Gulf Coast Citizens’ Diplomacy Council; 
  • the need for a change in public comment policy following the recent issue of the public not receiving an opportunity to speak during a meeting of the city’s Architectural Review Board; 
  • work that will soon begin on sidewalks for Burgess Road; and
  • results from an employee survey that found most employees finding their jobs “meaningful,” but dissatisfied with the pay.