Pensacola mayor vetoes something he can’t

Yesterday, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward notified Council President Brian Spencer that he has vetoed the Council action on March 9 regarding the hiring of a Budget Analyst, citing Article IV, Section 4.01(a)(10). See veto.

Hayward wrote in his explanation: “As Councilmember Gerald Wingate stated, the City of Pensacola currently has full-time staff that provides analysis of the City’s budget. There are more pressing needs within the City of Pensacola that would directly benefit the taxpayers.” See explanation.

Unfortunately, the charter, in particular the section he cited, only gives the mayor the power to veto ordinances and resolutions, not council actions. Furthermore, the mayor failed to exercise his line-item veto power to eliminate the budget for the position in September 2016, when the entire budget was approved.

City Charter Article IV, Section 4.01(a)(10)- Mayor’s Veto
To exercise a veto power over ordinances and resolutions adopted by City Council within five (5) days of adoption by City Council, except the Mayor may not exercise veto power over (i) an emergency ordinance as defined in Florida Statutes; (ii) those ordinances adopted as a result of quasi-judicial proceedings when such proceedings are mandated by law; and (iii) ordinances proposing Charter amendments, which the Council is required by law or by this Charter to place on the ballot. The Mayor may veto any “line item” in a budget or appropriation ordinance or resolution within five (5) days of adoption by City Council. A veto may be overridden only by an affirmative vote of a majority plus one (1) of the Council Members.

Plus, the charter in Section 4.02 (6) (a) gives the Council the authority to hire a budget analyst, and only the council can fire that employee. This authority was won in 2014 when the voters passed a charter amendment. Mayor Hayward unsuccessfully opposed the amendment.

Section 4.02 (6) (a) City Council’s Power to Hire Budget Analyst
The City Council shall establish an Office of the City Council and shall have as its staff the following who shall be responsible to the City Council through the President of the Council: (a) Budget Analyst. The City Council is authorized to employ a Budget Analyst or an individual with similar qualifications, pursuant to the City’s position classification code, to assist the budgetary matters of the City Council. The City Council, by ordinance, shall define the qualifications, pay and responsibilities of said employee in accordance with the City’s position classification code. The employee shall be subject to termination by a majority vote of the City Council

Inweekly has texted Council President Brian Spencer for his position on the veto. We will post his reply when it’s received.

Councilwoman Sherri Myers told the newspaper that Mayor Hayward has no authority to veto a council action.

“The charter clearly gives the council complete authority to hire a budget anaylsis,” said Myers. “We appropriated the funds last year and he didn’t challenge it.”

She said the mayor’s action has raised several questions: “What is he trying to hide? Why is he threatened by having an independent council budget person look at the budget? What would we find? Are his attorney fees to defend himself against the fire chief’s lawsuit hidden in the budget? What is it he doesn’t want us to know?”


3 thoughts on “Pensacola mayor vetoes something he can’t

  1. Actually, everyone is screwed up, as usual. For reasons I feel confident saying they do not understand, the Council voted to impose upon itself a requirement that it has to adopt an ordinance to create the Budget Analyst position. There is a state law (Section 166.041) that governs how ordinances and resolutions must be adopted. The state law adopts the minimum standards that can be increased by Charter Amendment or by ordinance, e.g. more stringent public notice requirements, etc. In this case, the Council tried to take an action that requires them to adopt an ordinance without going through the process of adopting an ordinance. Calling a legislative action a “council action” is meaningless if the city’s constitution (“City Charter”) requires the Council to take the action by ordinance. One option for Hayward would have been to direct the City Attorney to file a legal challenge in court asserting that the Council has no authority to take an action by “Council Action” when voters have directed it be taken by “ordinance.” Instead, Hayward opted to veto the “Council Action” but not on the grounds that the City Charter requires the action be taken by ordinance. A Hayward Administration spokesperson, designated liar Vernon Stewart gave this nonsensical quote to The Pulse website,, “All actions taken by the City Council that are not an ordinance are considered a resolution.” That is not true if only because state law distinguishes between an ordinance and a resolution and the Council takes all sorts of other sundry or ministerial actions such as electing the Council President that are neither an ordinance nor a resolution. The scary thing is that City Attorney Lysia Bowling seemingly must agree with Hayward’s view. So, the Council takes an action in violation of the voter-approved City Charter and then Hayward vetoes it for the wrong reason claiming the action was a de facto “resolution.” As another twist, even if the Council were to override Hayward’s veto, the action is still in violation of the Charter because the Council can only take this action by adopting an “ordinance.” In 2014, I told the Council not to put this in the Charter but they did anyway. My guess is that if we let the PHS IB students run the city government they would get things back on track in a few days. The big question someone should be asking is what did Council Executive Don Kraher know and when did he not know it. By my math, this is the fourth vote the Council has taken in violation of a state law, a city law or the City Charter this year.

  2. What’s new about this latest example of the Mayor’s illegal governance? He has consistently violated his oath to follow the Charter and the COUNCIL has consistently let him do it. The citizen’s don’t care to recall the Mayor and they will pay for their collective acceptance of such behaviors.

    Clearly, the Mayor is very concerned about the Council having any oversight of him and his actions.

  3. but if the council is successful in hiring it’s own budget analyst, no doubt he/she will have to do public records requests to obtain the records and information necessary to do their job.

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