Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday February 19th 2019

Archives

Winners & Losers 2/14/19

Winners
Grover Robinson
The mayor of Pensacola had to pick up the pieces of Project Titan and cobble together funding to create an aircraft maintenance campus at the Pensacola International Airport. Over the course of three days, Robinson raised $22 million from the Pensacola City Council, Escambia County Commission and Triumph Gulf Coast and this week hopes to get another $20 million from the Florida Department of Transportation. The mayor answered questions, corrected critics and debated the need for the project. It was a masterful effort.

Jack Brown
After four and a half years serving Escambia County, the administrator has retired. Brown dealt with the aftermath of the April 2014 flood and the Central Booking and Detention Center explosion and numerous infrastructure issues. He helped secure new sites for the Escambia County 4-H Facility and the Escambia County Correctional Facility and kept the OLF-8 and OLF-X land swap project on track. Brown provided steady, professional leadership when it was most needed.

Georgia Blackmon
The community activist has sold her Gathering Awareness and Book Center on DeVilliers Street and will be turning the store over to the new owner at the end of February.  Her nonprofit Mother Wit Institute has promoted Pensacola’s African-American heritage and diversity in the area. Blackmon has taken on the ongoing fundraising for the restoration of the Ella Jordan Home, a 138-year-old home that was once a center of African-American education and culture in Pensacola. Her voice is important to this community.

Losers
Opioid Training
The News Service of Florida reported last week that about one in four Florida healthcare providers failed to take a two-hour continuing education course on proper opioid prescribing by the required Jan. 31 deadline. The mandate was included in sweeping legislation on opioids that put limits on prescriptions for opioids and required providers check a statewide prescription drug database before prescribing potentially addictive pain medications to patients.

The Gang of Four
Four city officials participated in the January 2016 meeting where the decision was made to go afternoon former Fire Chief Matt Schmitt and Deputy Fire Chief Joe Glover—CFO Dick Barker, Chief Human Resources Officer Edward Sisson, Assistant Administrator Keith Wilkins and Special Assistant to the Administrator Rusty Wells. Their decision and the execution of a complicated scheme that led to the firing of Schmitt and Glover cost the city and its insurance carrier $575,000, plus the city’s legal fees. All four white men still work for the city, have six-figure salaries and have been rewarded with pay raises.

Nancy Oakley
The Madeira Beach city commissioner resigned days after being fined by the state ethics commission for sexually harassing a former city manager by licking his face and groping him. In her letter of resignation, Oakley insisted she is innocent and said she intends to appeal the ethics violation ruling. Last month, the Commission on Ethics unanimously fined Oakley $5,000 and called on the governor to issue her a public reprimand.