Ashton Hayward

Lindsay Myers

The short list of candidates for the assistant administrator for the City of Pensacola is out, and has gotten shorter. Final selections appear to be on the horizon.

City spokesman Vernon Stewart declined a request by WUWF for an interview with City Administrator Eric Olson, saying in an email Wednesday that the city was “close to making a decision on this.”

Reports have said that, instead of hiring both assistants, the city would hire one at the beginning. Mayor Ashton Hayward appears to be leaning that way, but adds that nothing is in concrete just yet.

Lindsay Myers

There’s more shuffling at Pensacola City Hall, with the departure of a high-profile contract employee, and two job openings near the top.

WANTED: A pair of assistant city administrators – to help Administrator Eric Olson. Olson and former Chief Operating Office Tamara Fountain – who resigned earlier this month – had been dividing up the workload. The dual assistants are a throwback to the old Manager-Council form of government, which was replaced by the new charter in 2009.

It appears that rumors of a rift between Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and businessman Quint Studer are overblown or without merit. Both feel they’re still on the same economic development page.

Representatives from the Studer, Levin and Bear families as well as dozens of others gathered at a steaming hot parking lot on the corner of Tarragona and Intendencia Streets in downtown Pensacola Thursday morning for the groundbreaking of the new downtown YMCA. 

Tamara Fountain resigned Monday as the City of Pensacola’s Chief Operating Officer, 11 months after accepting the position and after weeks of controversy.

A news release from the city says that Fountain is leaving to “pursue other opportunities.”

“After everything she’s been through, I saw the letter she sent to [the] City Council. You know, I think enough of it has taken its toll on her, and she was ready to move on,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward.

Lindsay Myers

A proposed multi-million dollar project at Community Maritime Park has been scrapped, after the City of Pensacola rejected the proposed leases for three parcels.

Pensacola Airport

Two years after the city placed the food concessions at Pensacola International Airport up for bids, the ribbon was cut Tuesday morning for the restaurants that make up OHM Concessions in both the pre- and post-security areas.

Based in St. Ann, Missouri, OHM operates Pensacola Beach House bar and restaurant; Einstein Bros. Bagels, Freshens, and Chick-Fil-A at the airport.

On orders from Mayor Ashton Hayward, city staff brought down the Confederate flag from all of the City of Pensacola’s Five Flags displays on Thursday. It was replaced by the State of Florida flag.

In a written statement, the Mayor concedes that while the Confederate flag represents a part of the city’s history, it also stands as a “painful symbol of racial hatred and ignorance.”

A spokesman for Hayward’s office said in an email that the Mayor would not be making any more statements on the matter.

Bob Barrett

Since 1889, 14 members of the Pensacola Police Force have died in the line of duty. Wednesday morning, the city took time to remember their service. Pensacola Chief of Police Chip Simmons stood in the shade outside Police Headquarters Wednesday morning addressing dozens of citizens, dignitaries and fellow officers and asked they would be willing to sacrifice for their fellow man. "You are looking at a wall with the names of men that did just that. They put their lives on the line for their community...for all of us. And it cost them dearly."

Carol Myers//Dave Dunwoody

One year ago more than 20 inches of rain inundated the Pensacola area, washing out the vast majority of Piedmont Road near Roger Scott Tennis Center. Mayor Ashton Hayward returned to Piedmont Wednesday, as part of his "Recovery Tour.”

Hayward called Piedmont Road “Ground Zero” among the damage the storm inflicted on the area. The road was washed out from Tronjo Drive to Hallmark Drive by the heavy rain, and water escaping from a broken retention pond.

Construction of a $50 million DeepFlex plant at the Port of Pensacola has been on hold for about the past four weeks. The halt is being blamed in part on a global drop in oil prices.

Other reasons given by the city and by Houston-based DeepFlex include vendors being slow about making their payments, and a current restructuring of the firm’s debt and capital funding. There was a different tune sung just eight and a half months ago, when Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward kicked off the ceremony near the Port’s Commendencia Slip, in stifling heat and an invasion of gnats.

The numbers are in and it’s official: Pensacon has quickly turned into a multi-million dollar piece of the local economy.

In a conversation a few weeks before the event, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward said whenever 30,000 people descend on your city it's pretty powerful. Now that the weekend has passed and the economic impact of the convention has been tallied, officials are seeing just how powerful Pensacon has become in only two years.  

Pensacon 2015 Takes Off This Weekend

Feb 25, 2015

After months of planning, Pensacon 2015 is ready to go this weekend.

"We just want to take over Pensacola" said Mike Ensley, the Founder and Chairman of Pensacon. Although he’s thinking big, Mike Ensley is surprisingly calm. This is the second year of the three day convention for fans of science fiction, comic books, video games, costuming or cosplaying, tv, movies, books and anything else where imagination and fun are the most important elements. "Everybody's flights are booked, people's hotel rooms are booked, they're excited to be here".

Pensacola Police Department

Over the next few months, Pensacola police officers will be outfitted with body cameras as part of their basic gear.

Fifty-five color cameras and software were purchased last fall, using $95,000 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund, money which is raised from seizures and forfeitures.

“More technology that’s better, it’s going to keep our citizens safe, the public safe and keep our officers safe,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward. “And I think it’s being proactive, and not reactive.”

Pensacola Intergalactic Airport

Pensacon 2015 is four weeks away and the City of Pensacola is already getting into the spirit.  Thursday morning at Pensacola International Airport, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward stood at a podium alongside Councilman at Large Charles Bare, Pensacon Chairman Mike Ensley, as well as Darth Vader, and issued a proclamation that officially changed the name of Pensacola International Airport to Pensacola Intergalactic Airport.

Office of the Mayor

If Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward gets his way, those paid to lobby him, the City Council and other city staff would be required to register.

Besides their names and affiliations, the registry would oblige lobbyists to disclose their clients, and the subject matters they want to influence.

Hayward announced through his digital newsletter last fall that he wanted the adoption of such an ordinance. Three months in the making, the proposal is set to go before the City Council in the next few weeks. 

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

A local sports hero has become a part owner of a local sports organization.  A couple of hundred fans attended the ceremony at Bayfront Stadium as Blue Wahoos Team President Bruce Baldwin and Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward introduced the newest member of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos ownership team, professional golfer and Pensacola native Bubba Watson.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In 2014, a federal investigation began in August involving road contracts with the City of Pensacola dating back to 2011, along with related expenses paid on behalf of Mayor Ashton Hayward and others. A federal grand jury was seated in Tallahassee.

One subpoena released by the Mayor’s Office requested numerous records connected to the "Main Street Rehabilitation Project” between the city and Jerry Pate Design. Those included bids, bid sheets, selection of contractor documents, all emails referring to the bids and copies of all payments to the contractor.

City of Pensacola

  Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward’s second term is underway, having been sworn in last month. As Hayward sat down with WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody, he touches on that victory, downtown renaissance, and the City Council.

DD: Mayor Hayward, you won re-election last month with 65% of the vote. What mandate does that margin of victory carry into your 2nd term?

City of Pensacola

The Pensacola City Council met in special session Tuesday, electing new leadership and overseeing the swearing-in of Ashton Hayward to a second term as Mayor.

The new-look City Council features Andy Terhaar as President and Larry B. Johnson as Vice President for the coming year. Terhaar was selected on the third ballot, fending off challenges from outgoing president Jewell Cannada-Wynn and Charles Bare.