Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday March 19th 2019


Winners & Losers 2/19/15

Kelley Bradford
The Escambia County Jail employee was recognized by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office with the Civilian Gold Medal of Honor for saving the life of Detention Deputy Chris Hankinson during the April 30, 2014 natural gas explosion at the Central Booking and Detention Center. Hankinson, who was paralyzed as a result of the blast, was honored with the law enforcement Purple Heart at the awards ceremony.

IAFF Local 707
The Pensacola City Council ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 707, the labor union representing City of Pensacola firefighters. Unlike the contracts with the general employees and police officers’ unions, the Fire Pension will remain open to current and future firefighters, a victory for the union that fought against closure for three years.

George Gabel
The First Amendment Foundation awarded the attorney at the Holland & Knight law firm with its 2014 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award. Gabel fought for the right of The Florida Times-Union and the public to be part of what had been secret mediation meetings regarding the city of Jacksonville’s pension plans. The Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award was created in 1995 to honor someone in Florida who has made a significant contribution to the cause of furthering open government.

Northwest Florida Workforce
The University of West Florida Haas Center’s latest research suggests the Northwest Florida workforce trails its counterparts around the country in skills and education. The Pensacola area’s Job Skills Index placed 11th among of 22 Florida metropolitan statistical areas. The Job Skills Index ranks metro areas by how well they attract and retain educated and other highly skilled workers. The Pensacola area barely beat the average index score for metro areas in the state.

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
In 2013, the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that the department had shifted too large a share of its costs to the counties. Last year, lawmakers considered a bill to split costs 50-50 between the state and counties, but it failed when counties insisted on being reimbursed $140 million for past overcharges. Since then, several counties have withheld any payments to the state, creating a $15.7 million budget shortfall for DJJ. Yikes.

The Low Income Pool (LIP), a joint state and federal program that gives $1 billion a year to hospitals and other providers that care for large numbers of low-income and uninsured patients, is set to expire June 30. Gov. Rick Scott included the funds in his budget, which helped him balance his proposal, but lawmakers aren’t so sure the federal government will extend LIP. Double Yikes.