Weekend Buzz: Wilson, new TDC head, Fish House lawsuit and laughing at Hayward

Touart Decision Aftermath
Commissioner Wilson Robertson wasn’t too happy about the 3-2 vote to remove George Touart from the list of candidates to be considered for the county administrator’s job. He openly accused after the meeting Commissioners Steven Barry, Lumon May and Grover Robinson (the three votes to drop Touart) of violating the state’s Sunshine Laws and conspiring to get rid of Touart.

The Fish House Fights Back
Ray Russenberger and Collier Merrill have a meeting with the city and its attorney to discuss Mayor Ashton Hayward’s claim that the city is owed millions in back rent for The Fish House and Atlas Oyster Bar’s gross sales (Read “How Not To Do Business“). The meeting is set today for 9:30 a.m. at the offices of Clark, Partington, Hart.

Schroeder Hired
Ed Schroeder, the former vice president for tourism at the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, has been hired as Okaloosa County’s new tourism chief.

Hayward Spin
Mayor Hayward and his supporters have been trying out three positions to deflect criticism over his notice of default sent to Russenberger and Merrill:

1) He never intended to send the notice. It was done by overzealous members of his staff. (Rebuttal: He hasn’t called Russenberger or Merrill to explain the “mistake.”)

2) He is cleaning up bad business deals done by prior administrations. Nix Daniel is a fine attorney who would not have sent the notice if the city didn’t have solid legal basis. He had Bob Kerrigan, Fred Levin and Mike Papantonio review it and they agreed. (Rebuttal: I know at least one of those attorneys doesn’t agree with the notice and pointed out to me several flaws in the city’s case.)

3) His world is bigger than this petty stuff. He’s too busy moving the city into the big leagues to bother with this. (Rebuttal: none needed)

Hayward was the butt of several jokes at the fundraiser for State Sen. Joe Negron hosted at The Fish House. Florida Senate President Don Gaetz joked the fundraiser would be the last one held at the restaurant. The next one would be at Pensacola City Hall since Collier will own it after he wins his lawsuit.

Food Truck & Diversity workshops later today
The Pensacola City Council has its agenda review session this afternoon. On Friday, we received notification that immediately following that meeting, the council will host a workshop to discuss the Disparity Study and Food Truck Regulations.