Pensacola, Florida
Sunday October 21st 2018


City drops ball on job evaluations

By Rick Outzen

The city of Pensacola has not done a written job performance evaluation of its administrative staff in four years, according to records obtained by Inweekly. The most recent evaluation of a department head was October 2009.

According to the personnel records of 14 city departments, Mayor Ashton Hayward has hired five department heads since he was sworn into office in January 2011—City Administrator Eric Olson, City Attorney Lysia Bowling, Housing Administrator Marcie Whitaker, Parks & Recreation Director Brian Cooper, and Chief Human Resources Ed Sisson.  None have had annual evaluations.

Three department heads were last evaluated in 2008 and another five in 2007. Several, such as Port Director Amy Miller and Interim Airport Director Dan Flynn, did not head departments when they were last evaluated. The annual salaries for these 14 city leaders total $1,446,634.

The City’s Human Resource manual states that performance evaluation shall be done by supervisors annually on the anniversary of entry into the person’s job classification. It recommends “new employees should be introduced to the rating criteria within the first two weeks of employment. Supervisors should use this time to explain specific responsibilities and expectations so there are no surprises when the first evaluation occurs.”

Since city stopped evaluating its department heads, the leaders have not evaluated their own employees. Administrative staff has been hired, promoted and given raises without any written evaluations. Public records show that 30 employees listed in the staff directory have never been evaluated. No one working in the mayor’s office has been evaluated.

Why are job performance evaluations important?

In his book “Results That Last,” Quint Studer talks about the importance of having an objective evaluation system to hold leaders accountable.

“Implementing an objective evaluation system—one that includes weighted components, progress reports, and 90-day plans—is crucial to ensuring that results last,” wrote Studer. “We can’t address behavior properly without first setting goals and implementing an objective system. “

He added, “To do otherwise is to be like a ship leaving the shore without knowing the longitude and latitude of its destination.”

Prior to the Hayward administration, the City used a written form, titled “Annual Performance Evaluation,” to rate the performance of employees. The employee was rated on a scale of 1to 5.

A “5” means the employee is an “exceptional performer; consistently and substantially exceeds expectations, objectives, and results; demonstrates outstanding level of expertise and skills; employee consistently exceeds departmental and city-wide goals and objectives of teamwork, initiative, dependability, and communication.”

An employee with a 5 or 4 rating was eligible to receive a more-than-standard annual increase. The supervisor often attached a letter of recommendation to the form. An employee with a 2 or 1 rating did not meet expectation and was not eligible to receive a standard annual increase.

The public records obtained by Inweekly show that city employees were given raises this fiscal year without a recent Annual Performance Evaluation form in their personnel folders. The annual payroll for the 14 departments reviewed by Inweekly totaled nearly $5 million.

Inweekly asked City Public Information Officer Vernon Stewart why the City was not doing annual job performance evaluations. He didn’t give a reason, but said the City had plans to do them in the future.

“We are working with Civic Plus, a government software as a service provider, to develop a new evaluation process,” said Stewart. “We intend to roll the new system out in October of this year.”


City of Pensacola
Most Recent Evaluations for Department Heads
Employee Title Salary Last  Evaluation
Olson, Eric City Administrator $133,016 none
Barker, Jr., Richard Chief Financial Officer $123,219 10/01/07
Burnett, Ericka City Clerk $76,980 10/01/07
Wineki, Steve Code Enforcement Administrator $75,171 10/08/09
Flynn, Dan Interim Airport Director $99,382 9/30/08
Bowling, Lysia H. City Attorney $154,980 None
Whitaker, Marcie Housing Administrator $86,611 None
Sisson, Edward Chief Human Resources Officer $99,694 None
Weeks, Bill Inspections $83,449 8/30/07
Cooper, Brian Parks & Rec Director $92,684 None
Suarez, Don Pensacola Energy Director $127,732 9/2/08
Morris, Sherry Planning Administrator $84,240 8/30/07
Miller, Amy Port Director $98,155 9/29/08
Owens, L. Derrik Public Works $111,321 9/24/07
Total $1,446,634