SAM HALL The at-large Pensacola city councilman has resurrected his political career and was elected in a tight 5-4 vote by his peers to be the new council president. Hall took on the “Gilmore Girls” of the city council during their hostile takeover of the city budget workshops by offering a rational voice in a process gone haywire. He won the respect of many. His biggest challenge will be to build consensus on the Council and end the partisanship that has defined the Council’s first year under the new strong-mayor government. Good luck.
BILL REYNOLDS The retired Marine Corps Lt. Colonel has done well in his first four months as the Pensacola City Administrator. His handling of the Occupy Pensacola’s tent city on city hall property has earned high marks from most citizens, although we suspect he was tempted, at times, to bring in a tank to evict the protesters. Reynolds also deserves a special merit badge for sitting through the city council’s marathon meetings.
DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT BOARD The agency charged with developing downtown Pensacola and running its lucrative parking system chose to not enforce its parking rules on Black Friday, which allowed downtown shoppers to save their quarters for Christmas gifts. Wise move.
MEGAN PRATT The other at-large Pensacola city council member has botched her tenure as the chairperson of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. Pratt didn’t support the new charter or Ashton Hayward when he ran for mayor. She has been caught pushing her ideas for the CRA without any approvals from her board. The biggest no-no was hiring a Panama City attorney and running up almost $20,000 in legal fees.
BECKY BRAY The former CRA Administrator was the experienced professional charged by Mayor Ashton Hayward to help Pratt and the CRA board. She helped craft an interlocal agreement between the CRA and the city that gave her a new title and put her under the CRA chair, not the mayor. Bray is the one who should have recognized that the CRA board needed to vote on any contracts for legal services.
DOUG SALE The Panama City attorney won the approval of Bray and Pratt to be the CRA’s attorney without ever having to complete a request for qualifications. In fact, it doesn’t appear the pair ever advertised the opening during the 18 months the position was vacant. Sale has run up hefty legal bills on the Hixardt deal and the new interlocal agreement with the city.