City of Pensacola

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Pensacola City Administrator Eric Olson’s out with some details about two issues going on at City Hall. One involves the Fire Department, the other deals with personnel policy.

City Administrator Eric Olson says the issues are not related, despite some media reports to the contrary.

“I like to look at it like there are two boxes – one is a box labeled ‘Investigation,’ and another is a box labeled ‘HR Manual,’” said Olson. “But that doesn’t mean that they’re in anyway linked. They just arrived on the same day.”

Pensacola residents appreciate their law enforcement and parks, but are less pleased with transportation and infrastructure, according to a new citywide survey.

The University of West Florida’s Haas Business Center was commissioned by the city to conduct the telephone survey during the last quarter of 2015. A similar review was done the previous year, which project leader Amy Newburn says had more components.

The Pensacola City Council is going back to the drawing board and paying for a study to figure out what to do with some valuable city land. The city has been examining the two acre parcel of land in the Hawkshaw district which is bordered by Ninth Avenue and Romana Street in Pensacola. Last Monday, the Community Redevelopment Agency held a special meeting to vote on hiring a firm called Urban Design Associates to conduct a study and get public input on what would be the best use of the land. The study will cost $25,000.

Georgia Barrett / WUWF News

The debate over allowing food trucks in Pensacola may not be over, but those mobile businesses celebrated a milestone in downtown Pensacola Thursday.  

A.J. took some time out from chopping onions in the Cajun Meat Train food truck Thursday morning, getting ready for the first day of serving lunch in the parking lot of Pensacola City Hall. "[We're] feeling great and hoping it opens eyes to everyone around and we get to park in some more places around town. Hopefully something good comes out of it and I'm excited and optimistic."

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward recently dropped by the studio, for a chat with Dave Dunwoody to look ahead at the year in Pensacola governance.

DD: Mayor, before we look ahead to 2016, let’s look back at 2015. What do you consider to be some of the accomplishments in city government?

UWF

The City of Pensacola is partnering with a new non-profit to help recently discharged veterans transition to civilian life. "The partnership with Pensacola is one of we hope many in the area that we will have". Mark Harden is the Florida Region Director of Boots Up, a non-profit that was recently formed to help service members transition to civilian life. "The city of Pensacola has plenty of prior military that work for them. Many of those might want to be mentors for our transitioning military. Additionally (the city has) jobs.

Lindsay Myers

  The City of Pensacola has hired the first of possibly two assistant city administrators – selecting a high-profile figure from Escambia County government.

Keith Wilkins was among five finalists for the position. He’s worked for the county for the past 15 years, as the Director of the Community and Environment Department and most recently, Natural Resources Management. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward says he’ll be a good fit.

Ferry service on Pensacola Bay is moving full speed ahead towards a launch date of March, 2017.

The latest step forward is the National Park Service’s award of a contract to All-American Marine. The Washington state-based firm will design and build two aluminum double-decker Catamaran-style ferry boats, each with a capacity of 150-passengers.

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.

  Pensacola wants just over two million dollars in RESTORE Act funding, to build a marina at Community Maritime Park.

Rebecca Ferguson, the city’s Economic Policy Coordinator, told the Community Maritime Parks Associates that the proposal is currently in draft form. The project title is “A Maritime Sports Tourism Development/Maritime Infrastructure Project.”

City of Pensacola

  Bids will soon begin flowing in, for construction of Florida’s first saltwater production hatchery at Bruce Beach in downtown Pensacola.

The idea for a hatchery in Pensacola first surfaced in 2011. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had announced plans to build 14 of them around the state over the next 15 years, to help restock depleted fish populations in state waters.

“These things take a while to actually manifest themselves, but I want to assure folks that this project is 100% go,” said Gil McRae, Director of FWC’s Research Institute.

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.

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.

The City of Pensacola is the defendant in a lawsuit, which claims illegal charges for delivery of natural gas.

Dr. Eric Frank, a Pensacola chiropractor, alleges the city through the utility Pensacola Energy has been levying a tax on its customers in the guise of mandatory franchise fees for the use of city-owned property.

City of Pensacola

  Pensacola already has a rich history, but more was made Wednesday with the installation of David Alexander as the city’s new police chief.

An almost standing room only crowd at the Sanders Beach-Corrine Jones Center was there to greet Pensacola’s first African-American police chief, in the department’s 194-year history.

“I chose David as our next chief of police because of the content of his character, and because of his passion for this community, his distinguished record, and his tremendous heart for service,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward.

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