Thursday, June 9, 2016

David Allen's Reprimands; State Attorney Assistance; Missing Documents

On June 1, I submitted a public records request for:

"All letters of reprimand issued to Chief David Allen included in his employee file"

On June 6, the City provided one (1) reprimand from 1992 for Allen's use of racial slurs and threatening a superior officer.  PR-Allen-Reprimand

On June 6, I emailed Ed Sisson, Eric Olson, and the Public Records Coordinator to inquire why I was not provided all reprimands.  I noted that Allen himself had disclosed additional reprimands in his testimony to Russell VanSickle.

I wrote:

In his statement to VanSickle, Chief Allen states:

"so in February of 2015, I asked to and got an appointment with the Mayor and to express my interest in the Fire Chief job and to let him know that I would like to be considered if in fact Chief Schmitt retires and like that and the Mayor thanked me but apparently he contacted Chief Schmitt and asked him is it true – I hear that you are thinking about leaving in April and Chief Schmitt took offense to that and called me into his office and told me that I had gone – been insubordinate – gone around the chain of command and that I was being reprimanded for that and then he brought up – I can’t remember the items because he didn’t give me a copy but but there were like three items in a row and I said - I said it was my understanding – Chief Glover by the way was in the room – um it was my understanding that we have a progressive discipline policy and that in order for you to get a second or third reprimand – you have to have gotten the first reprimand – that you can’t save three reprimands up and give them all simultaneously and uh anyway he told me that that’s how he was going to do that."

These reprimands were not provided.  Either proposed Chief Allen made false statements to VanSickle, someone has destroyed the records or you are withholding public records.

I request an immediate response or I will be forced to ask the State Attorney's Office to intervene.

The City responded:

"This letter responds to your public records request to the City of Pensacola, dated and received on 6/7/2016.

The City of Pensacola has reviewed its files and has determined there are no responsive records or documents to your request."

I then interviewed Former Chief Matt Schmitt and Former Deputy Chief Joe Glover who both confirmed that the reprimands were given and were witnessed by Glover as Allen stated.

On June 8, I again wrote to Olson, Sisson and the Public Records Coordinator stating:

As you are most likely aware, yesterday I was informed by the City's Public Records Coordinator that the reprimand of David Allen admitted to by Allen in his interview by Russell VanSickle is no where to be found.  The City informed me that there were "no records that match your public records request".

I have reviewed David Allen's testimony to VanSickle which states the reprimand clearly existed.

I have interviewed Joe Glover and he stated he witnessed the reprimand being given, the document itself and the document being signed by Allen.  If asked, he is prepared to testify to such.

I have interviewed Matt Schmitt and he stated he gave Allen the reprimand and documented the reprimand. Chief Schmitt stated he gave the document to Susan Cotton to place in "Allen's jacket". If asked, he is prepared to testify to such

Let me be clear.  All three involved state the incident occurred and two expressly state the document was created.

I am giving the City until 3pm today to provide the document.  At that time, I will make a criminal complaint to the State Attorney's Office for a Sunshine Law violation.

Further, since a pay increase is associated with Allen's proposed appointment to Fire Chief and the document would potentially be a document the Council would consider in determining that appointment, I will also be asking the state attorney to determine if the "loss" or potential destruction of the document would constitute a financial crime which exceeds felony thresholds.

Please produce the document admitted to by three City employees.

NO RESPONSE was made by the City!

Public Records Correspondence

On June 8, 2016 at approximately 4:15pm, I informed the State Attorney's office of the facts of the matter and filed a complaint against the City asking for their assistance in forcing the City to turn over the reprimands.

At 4:49 pm, the City provided 4 "written reprimands" of proposed Chief David Allen.
  • All of the documents were clearly written by the same individual.
  • None of the documents were signed by any party. No employee, no supervisor, no witness, no date.
The documents state that three copies are to be made.  Original (personnel file), Employee, and Human Resources.

According to the documents, Allen received the following additional written reprimands besides his racial slurs and threats in 1992:
  1. 12/11/15 Failure to notify Fire Chief's Deputy Fire Chief of email sent by Buddy McCormick to City Staff/Council, before City Council meeting on 12/11/15
  2. 1/21/15 Failure to keep immediate supervisor Deputy Chief Joe Glover apprised of your activities.
  3. 1/21/15 Conducting political activity while on duty, including Mayor, other City officials and City Council members.
  4. 1/21/15 Violation / not using the chain of command by contacting the Mayor's office concerning Fire Chief.

Questions and Concerns:
  • Why did the City state that these 4 reprimands did not exist yet they magically appear?
  • Why was a signed copy not in the HR file for Allen?
  • Why are all of the documents unsigned by anyone?
  • Where are the supporting notes to these reprimands written up in MS Word kept on the F drive created by the Fire Chief?  
  • Were the originals destroyed or removed from the file?
  • If so, who had access to the personnel files in the fire administration building to remove the originals?
  • Is destruction of public records / personnel documents a crime?
  • Do the reprimands show a motive for why Allen worked so hard to remove Glover and Schmitt?
  • Is it concerning to Council that David Allen has openly lobbied the Mayor and his staff for the Chief's job over the objections of his supervisors since 2011 to the point that he had to be reprimanded several times.
  • Is it not convenient that:
    • Schmitt and Glover are put on leave.
    • David Allen is told by Eric Olson to go ahead and move in the Chief's office immediately when the Chiefs are put on leave and told to "start running the department as if its your own"
    • Allen brings up the Car Seat allegations of which HE IS THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY late in the process after the original allegations were compiled.
    • Allen is made Fire Chief the day Schmitt and Glover are relieved.
    • No nationwide search.
    • No advertisements.
    • No interviews.
    • Just appoint the guy:
      • who left a firefighter in a burning building and ran out ahead of his team
      • who took no responsibility for the death
      • was reprimanded for making racial slurs and threatening a superior
      • was reprimanded for continually doing politcal activity on duty lobbying the Mayor and staff to be Chief
      • had clear conflicts of interest in his outside employment
      • testified under oath that it was ABSOLUTELY OK to operate a business out of the fire house WHILE ON DUTY
      • who wrecked a City vehicle in Oct 2015 and did not report it for 24 hours
      • and failed to get permission from the City for outside employment at HDCC in direct conflict of interest with his job
Draw your own conclusions.

David Allen is not the right person for this job!  The Department needs someone WITHOUT the history and baggage associated with decades inside the Department.


NotaGOB said...

The State's Attorney is far more interested in catching the big meth dealers in Cantonment to be bothered with trying to force his fellow GOB friends to follow the law. Meth and Crack dealers do not keep him in his job. Protecting fellow GOB's is important to keeping his job. Reason......because it is the GOB's that hold the keys to appointments to important positions in this town.

I have a big is it that someone like Asshat Wayward with no degree in Architecture or Engineering, no experience what so ever in actually developing anything, no Construction Administration experience can get considered for placement on local architectural review boards or even worse Mayor?'s who he knows. That's how all the local politics, community boards, commissions, etc. that are set up in this community are staffed. Why do you think people like Collier Merrill, Jim Reeves, etc. sit on so many boards. It's how they control the flow of money and business for their own interests. The regular guy has little say and is not privy to the same business opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Great job Maren! More than I can say for the $295 per hour, "independent" FACT FINDING, investigator. Any Council member who confirms Allen is now complicit in the public lynching of Schmitt and Glover.

Anonymous said...

Is it odd that...
• ...The report writer's section is handwritten and not typed? If this form is originally a blank digital document (e.g. MS Word or a PDF) wouldn't it be most likely that the 'supervisor' filling out the form would type it? It would be more legible, more professional, and would have the resource of spellcheck. — I'd expect the Employee Comments section to be handwritten.
• ...None of the four documents have the 'supervisor' stating "Corrective Measures To Be Taken By Employee?" So, the employee did something that was serious enough to warrant counseling/reprimanding but, other than a supposed talking-to, (an encounter that apparently failed to result in any signatures acknowledging such counseling/reprimand), there is no documentation as to what the 'supervisor' expects of the employee in the future.

How do these four documents compare to other counseling/reprimand reports from the Fire Department? Are the omissions or apparent oddities shown here representative of how other employees have been "counseled?"

I wonder: Were these four forms printed blank and filled out by hand in order to NOT have a digital timestamp?

Curiouser and curiouser.

James Ford said...

Ms. Maren, you are a force to be reckoned with. Does the PNJ have any investigative reporters? Recently, I saw your post from last year on the steps to recall this WEAK Mayor. I will attempt to work on a draft this weekend. Thank you for all that you do for our city.

Anonymous said...

James Ford, if you follow through and make it happen you become an instant hero for 99% of the city's employees and many taxpayers! I promise you will get a lot of support.

Anonymous said...

Strange how Schmidt and Glover both say Allen signed the reprimand, yet these documents do not have Allen's signature.

If, (big if here.) these are the actual reprimands given to Allen by the fired Chiefs, why didn't Van Sickle include them for "failure to follow HR procedures?"

Maren, you already have the personnel records on Sisson, Olson, Schmidt, Glover and Allen. Can you compare the handwriting of each file to figure out who really wrote the reprimands?

Thank you for all the hard work you do to keep the Upside transparent.

Anonymous said...

Where is the reprimand when he wrecked a Fire Dept vehicle and failed to report it immediately?

During "Fountaingate," Olson's personnel file was released. I think Olson's handwriting looks a lot like the handwriting on these reprimands.

rob said...

Very thorough investigating. I hope it makes people uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

It's not the offense that gets you in trouble, it's the cover up......

Anonymous said...

Not related to Allen and don't know if he is qualified but this smells like more incompetence within fire department administration and is why the two were fired. Reps not signed or in files. Incompetence yes, but not city admin, it is more fire dept. you can't see the facts because you are so blinded by desire to get the mayor. Pretty sad!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:42 PM, there will probably be more people to jump all over your uninformed comments but where in the heck have you been over the past several months? Are you really defending city admin? I hope that you're just kidding and looking for a reaction.

Anonymous said...

The problem lies with human resources. The chiefs did their job. The r eprimands produced are not the actual documents.

Anonymous said...

Btw, it is the Hayward administration that needs to go. Ashton is just the little tiny cherry at the top of this really big fake cake.

Anonymous said...

^^Anonymous 6:42
There were no findings of incompetence on the Chiefs. I'm pretty sure they had something to do with the fire department being the highest rated service in the city.

They were railroaded because they obviously didn't fit the Hayward profile. In fact, if they were incompetent, they would probably still be employed. Hayward has a well-established history of hiring incompetent people including Colleen Castille, Tamara Fountain, Ed Sisson, and Eric Olson. The himself mayor is completely incompetent.

Anonymous said...

"you can't see the facts because you are so blinded by desire to get the mayor. Pretty sad!"

You can't see the facts because you are so blinded by desire to cover for the mayor. Pretty sad!

Apparently, you have a real problem separating fact from fiction. Ms. DeWeese has expertly laid out the facts by using the existing documents as well as those that do not exist. The facts are that since the early part of this year, there has been a new level of corruption and incompetence exposed almost daily. That corruption and incompetence has clearly come from city hall. They have been caught in a tangled web of lies and deception that has been well documented.

Stay tuned because the flow of information has not slowed down between Maren and Rick Outzen. There is no reason to believe it will stop any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Will the city council be given a copy of his personnel file, his driving record, his r eprimands, a complete financial audit of the child safety seat program and a copy of the investigation report, PRIOR to the hearing?

Anonymous said...

Probably Not..

Anonymous said...

Allen had the most to gain from the Chiefs being terminated and now it seems as though he would have done ANYTHING to get them out. All of this mounting evidence against Allen; yet, he's Hayward's choice. I didn't see anything in the other Chiefs records after months of investigating that even compares.

Anonymous said...

I hope Ashton Hayward gets what's coming to him

Ruining people's lives -- career's -- and doesn't even care about the any real hard working people of Pensacola --just all his rich ass friends!