Wednesday, August 31, 2011

IN WEEKLY: Budget Woes Handicap Fire Service...Sixty percent of Pensacola fire stations undermanned

In February 2011, the IN Weekly printed an article surrounding the understaffing of the Fire Stations in the City.

The article states:

City officials often brag on the “world-class” Pensacola Fire Department. It was one of the major selling points for consolidation. What isn’t mentioned publicly is that 60 percent of the city’s fire stations are undermanned to the point that they don’t meet national fire safety standards. Precious minutes are being lost as multiple stations are having to be called in to fight fires before crews can enter burning structures.

Included in the article is a quote from Chief Schmitt

Interim Pensacola Fire Chief Matt Schmitt confirmed DeWeese’s statements concerning fire station staffing. “We’ve downsized with the budgets of every other city department here trying to make it through the economic hard times we are in,” Schmitt explained. “Positions were defunded; when someone retired out, we just didn’t hire in.”

Schmitt told the IN that the downsizing has created problems when working simultaneously with large, multiple incidents. “But, we do have a mutual aid agreement with the Escambia County Fire Rescue. We can draw on them for support, but it takes time,” Schmitt continued. “Before the downsizing, we could easily manage two major incidents at the same time. Considering the size and scope of a given incident, that could be extremely difficult at this time.”

I congratulate the Pensacola Professional Firefighters on reaching a deal with the Mayor's office on position funding in 2011-2012.  I just hope that the deal is implemented sooner rather than later as OUR CITIZENS LIVES may depend on it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

State of Florida to fund training for Port-related Businesses

More opportunity created by Seaport operations:  Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

Thousands of Florida transportation industry workers could hone their skills using more than $2.2 million worth of state-funded training opportunities under a grant announced Wednesday. Business leaders, elected officials and the board charged with keeping Florida residents in the workforce said the grants will help companies that use freight facilities, such as JaxPort. The infusion of cash is intended to create jobs, improve employee performance and start career-focused courses in high schools to make the state more competitive internationally. The overall message of the stimulus: Florida has depended on agriculture, tourism and construction for too long. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Maren Deweese is a Bad Politician

Here is a quote from Rick Outzen's April 10, 2010 article...

"Maren DeWeese is a bad politician. She is an unselfish public servant with a heart bigger than all of Pensacola. She does what she believes is right regardless of the impact on her re-election or political career. She is a great mom who still wants to show her children how good government operates."

I am still that same person.

here's the link to the whole story:

Rick you didn't even verify your story and you have this all wrong.   You should have called your friends Maren and Jeff DeWeese.  I have never seen my husband more hurt by any one person as he was this morning as he read your blog, something he does every single morning of his life. So dissapointing.

What has happened to you?

Have you ever considered you are the poison pill here?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Agenda Collaboration Efforts

This week's agenda preparation showed to have several challenges and I would like to clarify the chain of events as they occurred. 

As you will see from the emails, it was business as usual and I, the nor the new CAO Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Messer and based on Mayor Hayward's response to me in passing on Monday, he too was not aware of the changes that had been made to the agenda preparation process.

My efforts to refine the process brought changes in July that the Mayor's recommendations would be sent directly to Council on the agenda, without the Council Presidents recommendation as had been done in the past.  

This week, the Mayor's Chief of Staff had made changes to the agenda process and forbidden the release of agenda items and the Agenda itself. 

When I arrived Monday afternoon to work on the Agenda,  Mayor Hayward asked in passing if there was anything I needed,  I stated,  "just trying to organize the agenda items and I still need your requests for review".  Mayor Hayward seemed surprised that I had not received his requests and said he would check on them immediately. 

The Chief of Staff had also given instructions that the agenda must go straight to the Clerk and the Council President was not allow to have access to it before it was published.  This is the Council's Committee of the Whole agenda and is to be approved by the Council President.

While I am not sure of the reason why a memo was sent to me from the Mayor rehashing old details about the agenda,  I am certain of my efforts to work in collaboration with the Mayor on agendas.  His schedule did not permit for our weekly meeting yesterday or last week and this is the possible cause for the breakdown in communication.

From: Maren Deweese

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 5:42 AM
To: Bill Reynolds; Donna Harris
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett
Subject: Mayor's Agenda requests

Good Morning,

I would like to follow up on our conversation from Friday.

Please contact me as soon as your review of the Mayor's requests for the August 15th agenda are complete.

The process for submission normally allows for my review beginning the Friday before an agenda is issued the next Tuesday, in case there is a need for follow up or additional documents. This gives staff and Department heads time to arrange for additional documents and gives them time to respond to questions.

The Agenda closes Tuesday at noon with no additions to be made after that time. Should a new item arise or an item need updating a revised agenda can be issued up until Friday at 5pm.

If you would like to discuss the Mayor's requests with me today, please contact me at 316-7671. I look forward to hearing from you today.

Best Regards,
Maren DeWeese
Council President
From: Bill Reynolds

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 8:05 AM
To: Maren Deweese; Donna Harris
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett; John Asmar

Subject: RE: Mayor's Agenda requests

Madam President,

Good morning and thanks for the email.

My review has been complete and the package is currently being reviewed by John Asmar. I thank you for dropping off the package on Friday and briefing me on the process. My goal is to have our transition over the next few months be as seamless as possible for you and the rest of council. I appreciate your patience as we transition.

My best,

From: Maren Deweese

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 8:12 AM
To: Bill Reynolds; Donna Harris
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett; Al Coby

Subject: RE: Mayor's Agenda requests

Thank you for your email.

Donna, please notify me as soon as the Mayor's requests are ready for my review.

Monday is a work day for my own business and rather busy on most Mondays so please advise when the package will be ready for pickup.

Let's discuss timing for the next agenda process to allow for completion 10 days in advance of a COW meeting. As in the past, I am willing to review Mayor's requests as they are completed to avoid the rush of reviewing all requests together.

best regards,
Maren DeWeese
Council President

From: Maren Deweese

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 3:14 PM
To: Rita R. Lee
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett

Subject: RE: Mayor's Agenda requests

Good Afternoon,

Please advise as to the status of the Mayor's agenda requests for Council's August 15th COW meeting.

I would like to pick up the package for review and have not heard from anyone on the Mayor's staff following this morning's email from the CAO.

One item, the discussion of Council executive is ready for me to sign and I will be by City Hall in a while, this would be the best time for me to pick up the Mayor's agenda items for review.

Thank you for your attention to this request. I can be reached on my cell phone as well 316-7671.

best regards,
Maren DeWeese
Council President
From Rita R. Lee on behalf of Mayor Hayward
Monday 8/8/2011  3:20pm

Council President,

I just checked with Donna Harris and was advised she spoke with you today and advised you the agenda items are not yet ready for you to pick up. I will check further for response and get back with you re status.

Thank you.
From Rita R. Lee on behalf of Mayor Hayward
Tues 8/9/2011 11:38am


The City Attorney has informed me that there is some misunderstanding concerning my memorandum of August 8, 2011, regarding mayoral agenda items.

I apologize for any misunderstanding and turmoil this memorandum may have caused you. As you well know, I am busy in many directions including wrapping up some important City business in order that I might attend the League of Cities meeting in Orlando the next three days with you and other Council members. That is also why I was unable to meet with you at our scheduled meeting this morning.

Upon reflection, I probably should have clarified in the memo that the agenda would be released to you as Council President, as opposed to Council members, under the same procedures that we have always utilized. Clearly, it is important for the Council President to be able to manage her meetings.

Again, I am sending you this email in the hopes that we might resolve this misinterpretation of my memorandum and continue my efforts to ensure that the process is fully transparent and understood by all.

Sincerely & Respectfully,

RRL for Mayor Hayward