Confederate monument removal may be governed by this council policy

Yesterday, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward said that he wanted to remove the “Our Confederate Dead” monument in Lee Square, but that the city attorney was reviewing a law that governs the historic monuments.

He said, “We know there’s a law on the books that was passed in 2010…We’re examining this law right now that’s on the books right now. It mentions about having a committee when you change monuments and change the description.”

Well, there isn’t a law. It’s a council policy that was last amended in August 2010.

It states:

“Any proposals or requests to name, rename, alter, establish, move or remove a qualifying historical resource that is the property of the city of Pensacola, or is located on property owned by the City of Pensacola, will be presented to the City Council of the City of Pensacola for consideration. The proposal may be made by individuals, organizations, City Council members, or the Mayor.

“Any such proposal will be presented to the City Council for consideration and the proposal will be addressed as a regular agenda item of the Council. The Council may request a recommendation from the Mayor prior to final action. Additionally, the City Council may require one or more public meetings to discuss the proposal.

“Notwithstanding the above, the City Council shall not take final action on any proposal under this policy until a minimum of thirty calendar days from the date the item is first introduced to City Council.”

So the removal of the monument needs to be placed on the agenda for the council’s Sept. 14 regular meeting. The legislative body can request a recommendation from the mayor. The council can not vote on it until Oct. 14. Unfortunately, the council’s only scheduled regular meeting for that month is on Oct. 12. The Pensacola City Council will need to call a special meeting to vote on the removal or wait until the Nov. 9 regular meeting.

There is also a possibility Mayor Hayward may argue that he is not bound by city council policies and not wait for council approval.

Read Preservation of Historical Resources.