Grover Robinson eschews open job searches for key roles

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson has selected his leadership team without doing national, statewide or even local open job searches for the positions. City Hall promotions have become an insider’s game.

After his election, Robinson announced that retired FAC executive director Chris Holley would be his city administrator. The move gave the mayor a year to do a search to fill the most important role in his administrator. However, no search was done. Assistant Administrator Keith Wilkins, a holdover from the Hayward administration, has been promoted to the post.

Earlier this year, Robinson announced that Susan Wolfe would be the city attorney. Again no search was done for the post. We heard that the mayor had talked with several people were about the position, but no open search. Wolfe was the attorney for Clerk of Courts Pam Childers and had served as assistant city attorney under the city manager form of government. Her former boss, Rusty Wells, was shifted to assistant city attorney.

Over the summer, Robinson hired two former county leaders – interim county administrators Amy Lovoy and Matt Coughlin. Lovoy was recently promoted to CFO without the city posting the job opening. Coughlin is supposedly in line to be the next airport director when Dan Flynn retires.

The CFO opening happened because Robinson promoted Dick Barker to assistant city administrator – again without seeking outside applications.

Mayor Robinson has his leadership team, and it looks city government has returned to the 2000s or worse the 1990s.