Monday, May 16, 2016

VanSickle Deceived Public and Chiefs Claiming Independence

Beggs& Lane attorney Russell VanSickle intentionally deceived both the public and the Chiefs by claiming he was independent in the investigation of the Chiefs.

Billing records from Beggs & Lane reflect, in fact, VanSickle had been retained for almost a year for HR related matters including the hiring of Eric Olson, the departure of Tamara Fountain, defending the City in an ongoing EEOC complaint and changes to the Employee Manual concerning the Appeals Panel.

  • In April 2015, VanSickle reviewed Eric Olson's employment agreement
  • In August 2015, VanSickle was involved with Tamara Fountain's employment issues and had a phone call with Ed Sisson and the Mayor the day after Edward Deas made his complaint against Schmitt and Glover.
  • In October and November 2015, VanSickle bills for representing the City in a FCHR and EEOC complaint a Pensacola Police Officer made against the City.  This fact alone means he has an unavoidable conflict of interest in any "independent investigation" of HR and EEOC matters.


  • In December 2015, VanSickle bills the City for a telephone call with Sisson regarding the disciplinary appeals process removal.  He was involved in the manual changes that he addressed in his report without even disclosing that he was involved in the changes himself.


How would it have looked in the other EEOC complaint that VanSickle is presently defending for the City if he himself had found EEOC violations in the Chief's matter?

Despite these facts, VanSickle stated to the PNJ:

"I've not been asked to come to any kind of conclusion," he said. " I've just been asked to conduct an independent investigation and I'm going to do that to the best of my ability.


(Pensacola News Journal, "Fire chiefs not focus of investigation,” 2/5/16)

Russell VanSickle is a smart man.
Russell VanSickle is a labor law attorney.
Russell VanSickle knows when he is or isn't independent.

Russell VanSickle and the City lied to the Chief's and the Citizens.



19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Attention all City Council Members:
Will this article be the one to finally make you take action and do your job?

George Hawthorne said...

Anonymous 12:25

Nothing will make this council do anything that would require a vote against the Mayor. The are all owned by him (except Bare and Myers). So sad.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! This is beyond belief!!! I am speechless right now. I need to reread this blog post because I literally can't believe what I just read!

Anonymous said...

George, you don't know City politics if you think WU, Wingate, Cannada Wynn are owned by the mayor, they are not! Terhaar, Spencer and Johnson are for sure.

Anonymous said...

Council can stop the Mayor's funds. NO MORE outside contracts with law firms. We are paying literally millions in outside attorneys all over town to bully citizens and employees. Think of all the good that money could have done. Think of all the park improvements, sidewalks to our schools where children are now walking in ditches to get to public schools because they live within one mile and the bus will NOT pick them up. Every day children's lives are at risk on Burgess Road walking to school because the City pretends they have no money for sidewalks, yet the Mayor finds money to pay his own campaign contributors to publicly lynch our Fire Chiefs and try to kill the Fish House's business. It MUST stop. Don't even think about running for re-election City Council if you don't get busy putting a stop to all this corruption.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to be surprised about here. This is a level of corruption that is going to take some time to unravel. But if this is not dealt with quickly, Pensacola is going to make national headlines for all the wrong reasons. This Ed Deas guy is going to become an outcast in the black community if he hasn't already.

Anonymous said...

This makes the "investigation" totally null and void. I can't wait to hear Ashy's spin on this one. Time to pull out the old sock model resume and get it updated. I think the jig is up! Independent my azz!

Anonymous said...

The more I read, the more it seems like this is the twin city of Detroit. There is a very interesting blog like Maren's called motorcitymuckracker.com. it is very interesting reading. pensacola is heading the same direction as detroit with the cronyism, etc.

Anonymous said...

And Larry Johnson's bar - the Azalea - has an obnoxious header and footer advertising on The Pulse . Online addition.
Which coincidently appears to be in no way an independent newspaper🙄🙄

Anonymous said...

I am still not convinced. Are we talking independent which has a much broader definition or unbiased which does not?

Anonymous said...


To Anonymous @ 4:03 PM -

Wu, Wingate, and Cannada-Wynn may not be OWNED by Hayward but he can certainly count on them to DO NOTHING to get in his way. And that's exactly what they are - "do-nothings." Wingate and Cannada-Wynn stood by and watched while the mayor stripped a fellow African American of his rights and dignity. An African American who has served his country and who has served this city for 25 years. Wingate even had the audacity to leave last weeks meeting early so that he wouldn't have to hear the issue. Yes, Terhaar, Spencer, and Johnson can rightly be labeled as Hayward's henchmen, but don't ever tell me that the other three have done anything to prevent this awful mess.

By the way, Wu and Cannada-Wynn were utter do-nothings long before Hayward came along. I can recall Wu promising the citizens of this city that Studer's stadium would only cost the city $40 million "and not a penny more." When the stadium jumped up to almost $60 million he just whimpered in his chair. Wu and Cannada-Wynn have long been "go along to get along" council members, and much of this city's woes can be blamed on them.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting that the Mayor's office uploaded additional documents that were not part of the "investigation" apparently in response to comments on this blog. Specifically HR training documents for Schmitt, which appeared to be nothing more than computer systems/software training and in no way answered the hiring protocol training (or lack there of) question. Anyway, the bigger point in all this is that the Mayor's office has had a bunker mentality for quite some time after a string of significant management missteps. Here's the thing, this isn't Washington DC. This is your community Mr. Mayor. Your friends and neighbors. There is no need to bunker up. What's needed is some openness, honesty and humility. This is a lack of management and leadership experience. Period. I don't think this makes them evil people by any means. They just don't know how to do it. It's OK to admit it. It's OK to seek more training, be open and honest. Let's face it, how's the bunker thing been working for you? Maybe time for a new strategy? It's not a sign of weakness to admit error and take action to improve. Quite the opposite actually. How many leadership or management seminars have you and your senior staff attended in the last two years? Great leaders are always seeking more knowledge and improvement.....not more bad legal advice. Leadership isn't about "making the tough decision". That's something you say after the fact to clean up the mess of a management failure.

Anonymous said...

It's only OK to lack management and leadership experience if you value & rely on others who will give you good advice. The Mayor does the opposite. He fires people who disagree with him & hires people who will tell him what he wants to hear. He has a huge ego with no commensurate experience or education. He's a complete failure & proves why Pensacola should return to a council/manager form of government.

Anonymous said...

"It's not what you say, it's what the judge says."

Anonymous said...

Russell Van Sickle is an unethical liar who needs to be reported to the Florida Bar Association. He was obviously in on this from the beginning.

"I've not been asked to come to any kind of conclusion," he said." Counselor are you really trying to convince us that you were objective? Is it your position that the clients who you've been working for before this investigation had no bearing on your "findings" to the tune of $300 per hour?

" I've just been asked to conduct an independent investigation and I'm going to do that to the best of my ability.” Independent investigation? You had no ability to conduct an independent investigation. Can you say conflict of interest? How about invalid report? Mr. Van Sickle you are a lowlife scumbag sucking away on tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

"In December 2015, VanSickle bills the City for a telephone call with Sisson regarding the disciplinary appeals process removal. He was involved in the manual changes that he addressed in his report without even disclosing that he was involved in the changes himself." Oh snap! Is this the same appeals process that the Chiefs asked for when they were suspended? I hear a locomotive comin!

Anonymous said...

Conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody please offer him a middle aged model job out of the area already?

thedevilcorp said...

Good post.