Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward announced Thursday that City Administrator Colleen Castille has resigned effective September 3. Her departure has triggered a number of staff changes at the top of city government.
So far, the only explanation from Hayward is in a written statement that Castille is leaving to “pursue other opportunities.” In her own written statement, Castille says she made a one year commitment to serve and fulfilled it.
Neither Castille nor Mayor Hayward were available for comment. Castille is back at her permanent home in Tallahassee, while Hayward is attending a League of Cities meeting in Fort Lauderdale. Taking Castille’s place for now is Dick Barker, the city’s CFO.
“He (Barker) will continue as our CFO,” said Tamara Fountain, who is the new Chief Operations Officer. “But he has added to his plate administrative oversight for police, fire, Pensacola International Airport, the Port of the Pensacola, and Pensacola Energy.”
Eric Olson, the Assistant City Administrator, becomes Operations Manager.
Colleen Castille was named Interim Administrator in July of 2013. Bill Reynolds was fired after a State Attorney report found he had leaked confidential personnel information. Castille took the job at Mayor Ashton Hayward’s request.
“She knows how to bring people together and it was unique, because I was talking to Colleen of issues and I reached out to her,” said Hayward in July of 2013.
Prior to joining the Hayward administration, Castille was secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Community Affairs – both under Governor Jeb Bush. She also ran a private consulting firm in Tallahassee.
During her tenure, Castille played a role in a number of city projects: the planned hatchery at Bruce Beach; new food vendors at Pensacola International Airport, and attracting ST Aerospace and its 300 jobs to Pensacola.
During a storm water symposium held last month, Castille delivered the city’s presentation. She said engineering and drainage impact studies were underway, and concentrating on the areas that were hit the hardest by the flooding in late April.
There’s no set time frame for hiring a permanent City Administrator. Spokeswoman Tamara Fountain says they knew this day was coming, and a transition plan had been put into place – and now into practice.
“There’s not going to be any kind of effect to services, or to our entities or enterprises,” said Fountain. “Everything was done with a lot of oversight and a lot of thought. So we have gone ahead and divided up the responsibilities and that way, we’ll have a nice, smooth transition.”
Another area not thought to be affected by the shuffling of staff is Mayor Ashton Hayward’s re-election campaign. He faces Donna Clark in the November 4 general election.