Pensacola city officials leak a new story about its investigation of fire chiefs

During his weekly radio interview with Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, News Radio 1620 host Andrew McKay said, “We now learn that there is some additional investigation into their conduct – the chief and the deputy chief – to some degree.”

He asked the mayor, “Is that why Eric (City Administrator Olson) and Ed (Chief Human Resource Officer) were themselves not put on administrative leave?”

Mayor would neither confirm or deny the new information. He said, “We had a meeting obviously with counsel, and we did exactly what Rob Larkin recommended….so I can’t comment on that.We did exactly what he told us to do. I not going to be able to comment any further about that.”

Yesterday, City Administrator Eric Olson said Fire Chief Matt Schmitt and Deputy Fire Chief Joe Glover were placed on leave because of the EEOC complaints the two men had filed. He explained the timeline in detail:

“Anytime the city receives an EEOC complaint our insurance carrier is notified. When our insurance carrier is notified, our insurance carrier then takes one of the attorneys that it has on retainer to check into the matter. In this case, it happened to be Rob Larkin from Allen, Norton & Blue.”

When he was notified, he then advised me that we should put the two individuals on administrative leave, and that we should retain an outside counsel to conduct an investigation. That’s really the timeline. The EEOC complaints were filed. We had one that was filed in late December. The notification process probably, I think it was after the holidays that the notification happened.

Once the insurance carrier got it they notified their counsel, then talked to us and gave us this advice. Really acting on the advice that of council, that is exactly what happened. Last Tuesday, the two individuals replaced on administrative leave, and we hired outside council to conduct an investigation.”

Mayor Hayward this morning said he made the decision on the administrative leaves after meeting with Larkin and city staff. He said that he would seek legal counsel on whether he could extended the fire chiefs’ leaves if the investigation isn’t completed within the 10-day period outlined in the HR policy manual (Feb.12).

Fire Chief Matt Schmitt and Deputy Fire Chief Joe Glover weren’t told the city was investigating their conduct when they were placed on leave last week. They weren’t told anything.

Deputy Chief Glover told Inweekly this afternoon that no one from the city or its legal counsel has contacted him about the investigation

Note: Former Councilwoman Maren Deweese has a post on her blog that talks about how she believes the .