Viewpoint: Actions must match rhetoric

The City of Pensacola has never had a transition like it will have on January 10, 2011 when Ashton Hayward takes office as the city’s strong mayor. However, Escambia County has seen them for its constitutional offices, except for Ernie Lee Magaha who has been the Clerk of Court since Andrew Jackson was governor of the territory.

The rule has been to change the leadership teams when a new elected official assumes control and announcement of those teams are made weeks in advance.

Sheriff Ron McNesby brought in a full team of contract employees to be his core leadership team. Many were campaign supporters. Sheriff David Morgan replaced many of those contract employees with promotions from within the sheriff’s office.

Superintendent of Schools Jim Paul had his own team, too—a mix of district employees, principals, teachers and outsiders.

State Attorney Bill Eddins, Supervisor of Elections David Stafford and Superintendent Malcolm Thomas didn’t make wholesale changes.

Public Defenders James Owens nearly cleaned house completely – which created a stir, but has settled down considerably since then.

The Hayward Transition is silent. Hayward himself is reluctant to say anything about leadership changes or even how he will implement his 20/20 plan. He announced last week his team — eight white males, one white female and one African-American. Of the ten, only one is under 40 years old – Rev. Lutimothy May. Four are retirees/business consultants.

When Hayward was campaigning and issued his “Plan for Pensacola’s West Side.” he said he would “Develop a transition team and an administration that reflects Pensacola’s diversity.”

His transition fails to fulfill that promise, which makes one wonder what will his administration reflect and what other promises will be dropped.

I support Ashton Hayward and want him to succeed, but the actions have to match the rhetoric. Politicians fail when they believe that can say anything and there is no record of it or no one will hold you accountable.

We will.