Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Oops...Sisson Forgot to Tell Van Sickle About This or Did He?

While no longer dominating the news, the investigation into the Fire Chiefs has transitioned from a witch hunt to fire Chief Schmidt and Glover to an investigation by their attorneys into the circumstances surrounding the entire investigation.

Remember, when the Mayor made his decision about the Chiefs, I stated that once it was done, the Mayor could no longer control the story and the spin.  Lawyers, documents and depositions were in his future.  Ashton depositions are coming to your future.

Well one question to be asked of Sisson, Van Sickle and Hayward, once again on video and under oath, surrounds the alleged shortfalls in the Fire Department hiring practices.

In his report, Van Sickle stated:

"Sisson identified that the most recent example of concerns over Schmitt and Glover’s alleged mismanagement issues from an HR perspective was Schmitt and Glover’s alleged failure to follow normal hiring protocol for the January 2016 hiring round for new firefighters.

During this investigation, all parties involved agreed that the normal hiring process was not followed for the January 2016 hiring process. The primary deviation was the failure to have the applicants interviewed, scored, and ranked by an interview panel of firefighters."

Van Sickle summarizes:

"I find that neither Schmitt nor Glover was attempting to manipulate the hiring process to include or exclude any particular applicant. However, Schmitt and Glover believed incorrectly they were capable of handling the hiring process without an interview panel and without any guidance from HR. They both used poor judgment to conduct the hiring process in a manner they both agreed had not been done before. Their handling of the hiring process, from not understanding the value of a panel taking notes and individually scoring potential new firefighters; from not taking notes of any substance; from not acting to score and rank them from January 21 to at least January 26, when the application of the statutory veteran’s preference finally dawned on at least Glover, showed that they were not actually capable of properly handling the process. Additionally, their failure to properly conduct this particular hiring round coincides in timing with a disturbing level of animosity each showed toward HR, which is evidence that they intentionally ignored the proper process under the mistaken belief that they knew better than anyone else how to approach a hiring round for new firefighters."

Mr. Van Sickle, let me bring to your attention firefighter Brandon Tibbett.  You discussed him in your report.  Here is what you said:

"Tibbett was the only candidate to successfully complete the program. Tibbett completed the PAT with the PFD on December 7, 2015, in coordination with Workman in HR. (December 7, 2015, email from Jester to Workman) The HR department, apparently without Sisson’s knowledge, allowed the background check completed for the apprenticeship program to be used in place of a new background check for hiring. Tibbett was not interviewed again prior to starting his employment with the City PFD. However, Tibbett was required to complete a new drug test and the medical exam screening. Tibbett started employment with the PFD on January 19, 2016."

New Hire Checklist:
  • PAT Test...Check
  • Background Check...Check
  • Drug Test...Check
  • Medical Test...Check
What was never done?   Yep!  Panel interview.
Who approved no panel interview was required?  I understand Ed Sisson did!

But wait Mr. Van Sickle you stated previously, and let me quote:

"However, Schmitt and Glover believed incorrectly they were capable of handling the hiring process without an interview panel and without any guidance from HR. They both used poor judgment to conduct the hiring process in a manner they both agreed had not been done before. Their handling of the hiring process, from not understanding the value of a panel taking notes and individually scoring potential new firefighters;"

Mr. Van Sickle, I don't understand. It appears when you are making up charges against the Chiefs to fire them panels are required and essential, but when you are discussing the hiring process of Tibbett, you note drug tests, medicals tests and PAT tests but keep your mouth shut when no panel was required.

So Mr. Van Sickle, let me ask you: If panels are required and Sisson did in fact waive it, is Sisson not guilty of circumventing the normal process also?

Did Sisson believe incorrectly, Mr. Van Sickle?
Did Sisson use poor judgement, Mr. Van Sickle?
Did Sisson not understand the value, Mr. Van Sickle, of a panel taking notes??

No Panel...Schmidt...Fired
No Panel...Glover...Fired
No Panel...Sisson...No issue!

Why the double standard Mr. Van Sickle?

I will be submitting a public records request for firefighter Tibbett's employee file and his panel interview results.

Hey, new dude doing PRRs , the appropriate response is "No responsive documents"


Anonymous said...


I am a current city employee of ___ years and will remain anonymous because I need my job and do not want to be railroaded by scum bags. But I will tell you there are many employees just like me who have seen a lot and know a lot. Some of us were hoping that once the shenanigans at city hall were exposed at least Sisson would have been fired. But now that it seems he will never be held accountable for his actions there are some of us who can't wait to give depositions. I assure you that so much more will come out when that time comes.

Anonymous said...

What a joke...I guess even when a bunch of money is spent on a lawyer you still don't get what you pay for. Then again maybe in this situation the city got exactly what it paid for.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Time to start the circus music again for the clown show.

Railroading 101
#1 Cover the tracks

Anonymous said...

This smelled like a conspiracy from the beginning and if this is true, that pretty much seals it for me. I wonder what the spin on this one will be? If sworn depositions are taken, I doubt seriously that anyone will want to risk being found guilty of perjury.

Maren, do you know if the Chiefs have filed a lawsuit or if they are planning to do so?

If Van Sickle was involved in a witch hunt, can't he be reported to the Florida Bar?

Council???...Council???...Council??? Geesh...Nevermind, I forgot you can't do anything except give yourselves a big raise.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when Curley, Larry, and Moe are on charge. It's amazing that these dummies actually think the truth won't come out. A minimally competent attorney would have a field day with these fools.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:29 AM.....the big problem is most of the competent lawyers in the area are already part of the GOB network and have no intentions of shaking the apple cart. The Hayward administration has been quite very profitable for the local attorneys.

Anonymous said...

I've said it before, what an embarrassing miscarriage of justice this entire situation has been. Unfortunately, it seems that no one really cares enough to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

To all of the fire department employees that knew about this but remained silent until it was time to select your new boss, I have lost a lot of respect for you. My opinion about the PFD has definitely changed.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how they try to cover this up because you know they will. Sisson is such a slimy snake who is grossly unqualified.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:54 AM see Rick's Blog for your question about the lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

^It's rarely ever the initial act that gets em, it's usually the cover up that follows! See The Watergate Scandal

Anonymous said...

Hey PFD when we the citizens wondered why you all were so quiet during the investigation of your former bosses you had nothing to say. How about continuing to have nothing to say. I agree with the poster about loyalty but it is also an indictment on your integrity. When the union Prez spoke for all of you before no one spoke up. Can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...


Justice said...

It's about time the truth comes out!!! There's NO right way to do a WRONG Thing !!!! .. with liberty and justice for all,,, not just some !

Anonymous said...

I hope they sue the crap out of these GOBs. Remember the council members who were so quick to vote for Chief Over Time's confirmation? Wu, Johnson, Spencer, Terhaar, and Cannada-Wynn look like bigger fools than before if that's possible.

Justice said...

It's about time the truth comes out!!! There's NO right way to do a WRONG thing!!! ,,,with liberty and justice for ALL, not just some. This will certainly shine a new light on the "Upside, Corrupt side of Florida"

Anonymous said...

So it appears the double standard that is so obvious at the top levels of this country have filtered down to the city level as well. The city's agent doesn't have to play by the same rules he applies to those he is "investigating." I guess there's nothing new here. But it is disappointing nonetheless. One would have hoped that at the local level, a higher standard could be maintained. I guess not. Chief Schmitt and especially Deputy Chief Glover (who was acting on instructions from his superior) should be reinstated immediately, with full back pay... and the strongest apology the city can make. Destroying a person's reputation is no light matter.

I guess "equal justice for all" doesn't apply in Pensacola, as it doesn't with certain presidential candidates.

Anonymous said...

First Allen and now Wu? I'm sorry firemen but your credibility has been severely damaged by who you're hitching your wagon to. They are 2 of the absolute worst people you could support and it's becoming more obvious that your endorsements amount to quid pro quo. This is sad because I once thought highly of the ire department.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 5:36 AM...The corruption did not filter down to the City Level from the Top Levels....It was always here. Pensacola has always been a very corrupt city.

Anonymous said...

^^@Anonymous 8:07 AM...Agree with you 100%. The glaring difference is the level of incompetence at the top and the incompetent people he surrounds himself with.

The GOBs take care of the corrupt politicians and the politians take care of the GOBs at taxpayers expense. Great deal for the political hacks and the GOBs but not so good for the citizens.

Anonymous said...

Glover and Schmitt's attorneys must be salivating over this. With everything that has come out from the beginning they could probably prevail pro se'. The only question remaining is whether Hayward has influence with any particular judges.

Anonymous said...

This has to go down as one of the most ill-conceived cases of harassment and retaliation ever seen. Even those who didn't want to believe it before must see this as nothing more than a modern day lynching.

Anonymous said...

Yes...Russell Van Sickle is an officer of the court and bound to conduct himself in a manner which promoted justice. He is obligated to act ethically.

Officer of the Court

n. any person who has an obligation to promote justice and effective operation of the judicial system, including judges, the attorneys who appear in court, bailiffs, clerks and other personnel.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Van Sickle did not life up to his obligations on this one. I guess money can buy you just about anything. Attorney's like Van Winkle and Bobby K are getting fat off of the taxpayers who have to foot the bill. Now it appears that taxpayers are going to have to pay even more for the incompetence at City Hall.