Pensacola, Florida
Monday May 21st 2018


The Buzz 6/13/13

NO MORE NOOSES Dr. Judy Bense, the president of University of West Florida, wants to make sure the racially charged incidents like those that happened in April 2012 are never repeated.

Last year, two nooses were found on campus. One was behind Martin Hall in a parking lot hung from a tree about three feet off the ground. The second noose was near the campus tennis courts draped over a sign featuring a campus map.

Dr. Bense committed to area leaders and UWF students to attack the issue head on, pledging to have a more diverse university that fosters acceptance and respect. On June 6, she unveiled plans to hire a chief diversity officer this summer, who will use the results of a recent campus climate survey and a diversity audit of existing programs, events and staffing to develop a diversity and inclusion strategic plan.

The university has also created the UWF Presidential Policy Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which is composed of 26 members from university departments, student organizations, governing bodies and community agencies. A new website has been established at

DOES ANYBODY WORK HERE? The Mayoki Indians are laughing about their surprise visit to the seventh floor of Pensacola City Hall, the domain of Mayor Ashton Hayward and his crew.

The fictitious tribe that was formed over 40 years ago to enhance the City of Pensacola’s annual Fiesta of Five Flags visits several local businesses during Fiesta week. When they arrived at city hall during the middle of the week, no one was on the seventh floor, except the city administrator and a few secretaries. Col. Bill Reynolds scrambled to gather employees from the other floors to make a decent showing.

WHO PICKED THESE BOZOS? Hotel owners are upset about the 30-second spot produced by Visit Pensacola’s new out-of-town ad agency, BOHAN Advertising (see “Winners & Losers”).  Julian MacQueen, Innisfree Hotels founder & CEO, has been calling Escambia County commissioners asking them to consider taking the bed tax dollars away from the Greater Pensacola Chamber.

The subcommittee of the Tourism Administration and Convention Committee (TACC) that selected the Nashville, Tenn. firm included Harlan Butler, Innisfree Hotels president, and the sales director for his Hilton Gulf Front Hotel on Pensacola Beach, Tom Rasinen.

The other members were Jehan Clark, Maria Goldberg, Maureen LaMar, Jatin Bhakta, Alison Davenport, Kim Kimbrough, George Hawthorne and Lorraine Christen.

BOHAN scored highest for advertising and public relations of the firms answering the Request for Proposals and was approved unanimously by the subcommittee.

PADDING THE SCHOOL BUDGET The Escambia County School Board held on June 6 a workshop to discuss the preliminary budget for 2012-13. The board had plenty of questions, but few answers.

Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas didn’t include projected federal revenues and other potential changes or cuts. He offered simply a look at what had been requested for these two areas and any issues that jumped out when looking at YTD spending.

“How do you figure out where you’re going to go when you don’t have a bottom line,” asked School Board member Patty Hightower.

Board chairman Jeff Bergosh outlined a list of issues—items where the amount spent was thousands below what had previously been budgeted. The Finance and Business Affairs budget included $1 million for unemployment compensation, even though the previous YTD expense was only $350,000.

Superintendent Thomas explained that it’s a place they don’t like to under budget since they must fight each and every single claim. What he didn’t admit is the line item gives him money to move to other areas later.