Since June 1, former Pensacola City Councilwoman Maren Deweese has been trying to get the City of Pensacola to release all letters of reprimand issued to Fire Chief-designate David Allen that were included in his employee file.
When the City responded to her request, several letters of reprimand was missing. Deweese emailed on June 6 Chief Human Resources Officer Ed Sisson, City Administrator Eric Olson and the Public Records Coordinator asking for the reprimands Allen himself disclosed in his testimony to Beggs & Lane attorney Russell Van Sickle during the three-month investigation of the former fire chiefs.
She spoke with former Fire Chief Matt Schmitt who confirmed that Allen was given written reprimands in January 2015, when CFO Dick Barker was the interim city administrator. Former Deputy Fire Chief Joe Glover told DeWeese that he had witnessed the reprimands.
All fire department personnel records are maintained at the fire station. Glover and Schmitt have been locked out of the fire stations since Feb. 2.
The City still didn’t provide the written reprimands. On June 8, she filed a complaint with the State Attorney’s Office asking for their assistance in forcing the City to turn over the reprimands.
Within an hour, the City provided four additional reprimands. None were signed by any party –no employee, no supervisor, no witness, no date. They weren’t the official reprimands.
She wrote on her blog:
“According to the documents, Allen received the following additional written reprimands besides his racial slurs and threats in 1992:
12/11/15 Failure to notify Fire Chief’s Deputy Fire Chief of email sent by Buddy McCormick to City Staff/Council, before City Council meeting on 12/11/15
1/21/15 Failure to keep immediate supervisor Deputy Chief Joe Glover apprised of your activities.
1/21/15 Conducting political activity while on duty, including Mayor, other City officials and City Council members.
1/21/15 Violation / not using the chain of command by contacting the Mayor’s office concerning Fire Chief.”
Yesterday, the City released Chief Schmitt’s notes on the reprimands that were on the city’s server. Schmitt typically attached his written notes to the official reprimands.
The notes contain a litany of violations by Allen when he served as Battalion Chief and Fire Marshall – a year before the fire chief investigation:
- Chain of Command violations Mayor, Councilpeople, Dick, Tamara
- Political activity while of duty
- Delegation when not authorized
- Conducting media interviews w/o authorization
- Competent in skill, knowledge, experience, ability
- NO – Character, honesty, integrity, fairness, caring, accountability
- Presense in Stations
- Time spent in City Hall – 5th Floor Only
- Solicitation of political support from Citizens while on duty
- Positioning self at events so as to curry political favors
- Failure to properly supervise subordinates
- Using the office of FM and PIO to further political aspirations
- Buddy McCormick email you did not give me re Port at City Council
- Lack of respect for DC in the Chain of Command
- City ordinance change / accessing attorneys w/o permission
- Chief Schmitt going in drop
- Call to office from Mayor to you week you returned from Fire Rescue East
- ATV Grant. Did you authorize the application by Hoffman?
DeWeese confirmed the authenticity of the document with Chief Schmitt.
These public records leave a host of questions:
What happened to the original signed reprimands? Destruction of a public record is a crime. The State Attorney may need to open an investigation.
Copies of reprimands are sent to HR, according to city policy. Was this an effort to cover up these reprimands before the Pensacola City Council approved Allen’s nomination?
What kind of background check did Mayor Ashton Hayward do before naming Allen his fire chief? Barker and Sisson were aware of these violations. Did they tell the mayor and city administrator? Was the mayor given Allen’s personnel file? If so, were these four reprimands included?
Read Maren’s Blog.