Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From Slam Dunk to Settlement...What Happened?

When Bill Reynolds shared the complaint by a staffer with me at WOB (unsolicited), Hayward terminated him saying:

“Last week, I received the disappointing news from the State Attorney’s Office that Bill Reynolds chose to leak a confidential employee complaint. The wellbeing of the City’s hardworking employees is one of my top priorities. Mr. Reynolds’s actions violated this sacred responsibility. This is unacceptable to me."

Reynolds sued saying he was owed his severance and PTO.  The case against Reynolds was called a "slam dunk".  No way he could win.

Then why did Hayward move to settle a "slam dunk" case.

Weeeeeellllll, in April 2015, I sent the following email to Reynold's lawyer and others:


From: Maren DeWeese <jklmn246@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 11:08 AM
Subject: Reynolds v. City of Pensacola
To: email@odombarlow.com, rlarkin@anblaw.com, ahayward@ci.pensacola.fl.us, ESisson@cityofpensacola.com, Ashton Hayward <mayorhayward@cityofpensacola.com>, phillip Hoffman <president@iafflocal707.org>, fop071@gmail.com, jwynn@afscmefl.com

Mr. Odom,

I noted that you presently represent Bill Reynolds in his case against the City of Pensacola.

Mr. Reynolds was allegedly terminated from the employment of the City of Pensacola for "leaking" confidential human resource related documents outside the City of Pensacola's internal processes. 

In announcing Reynolds termination, Mayor Hayward stated in his press release:

“Last week, I received the disappointing news from the State Attorney’s Office that Bill Reynolds chose to leak a confidential employee complaint. The wellbeing of the City’s hardworking employees is one of my top priorities. Mr. Reynolds’s actions violated this sacred responsibility. This is unacceptable to me."

The Mayor stated that Mr. Reynolds actions "violated this sacred responsibility" to the City employees.

I would like to detail a remarkably similar situation of which I am aware that could have a direct bearing on Mr. Reynolds case. 

I recently made a public records request of emails of Tamara Fountain, the Mayor's current Chief Operating Officer.  Under the City's current organization structure, all department heads report to the Chief Administrative Officer.  At the time of my request that was Dick Barker.  I noted an email whereby Interim Airport Director Dan Flynn, a City employee, emailed his superior, Mr. Barker, wanting to discuss pressure he was receiving from a marketing contractor, Chip Henderson of Emagination Unlimited.  Mr. Barker took no action that I noted but to forward the email to COO Fountain.  At 6:44pm on a Friday evening, Ms. Fountain, in her capacity as COO, sent an email to Director Flynn threatening his employment and accusing him of insubordination.

At 6:46pm that same evening after threatening the employment of a City employee who does not directly report to her, COO Fountain then forwarded the termination threat to airport marketing contractor Chip Henderson at his business email address, chip@getemagination.com.

This email to Henderson disclosed to Henderson outside of the City's internal HR processes the alleged insubordination of Flynn, the threat against his gainful employment with the City and potentially deprived Mr. Flynn of his rights as an employee to confidentiality regarding his employment matters.

The circumstances surrounding a leak of confidential HR related information between Mr. Reynolds case and Ms. Fountains actions appear similar in that they both shared City internal HR related information outside of City established processes and procedures.  The difference is that Mr. Reynolds intentions were to apparently uncover an alleged unacceptable treatment of a City employee by a senior Hayward staff member while Fountains apparent intent was to embarrass and demean Flynn's authority over a contractor working under his authority as Airport Director.

The City of Pensacola Ethical Standards and Code of Conduct state:

No City employee shall make disclosure or use of information not available to the public for any employee’s personal gain or benefit or for a private purpose or for the gain or benefit of any other person or business entity, nor shall any employee disclose any confidential information gained by reason of his or her official position with the City.
  • Fountain made the disclosure
  • Her threat was information not available to the public which she used
  • Did it benefit Emagination Unlimited in it's dealing with the Airport staff?
  • Did Fountain disclose confidential information gained by reason of her official position with the City? 
  • Is the release of HR data outside the City allowed?
The Mayor's office has been aware of Ms. Fountains actions for over a week and has not and probably will not take any action against her in this matter.
Apparently, in the Mayors opinion, the "sacred responsibility" to employees is not so sacred.

I hope this information is useful to your case. 

I have also copied the City's three employee unions so that they can see the application of the Mayor's "sacred responsibility" to the City's employees and his consistency in application of those standards.

Attached are copies of both emails from Ms. Fountain.

Warmest regards,

Maren DeWeese

_____________

As the City file for the case comes out, you will see this email to the parties is referenced several times in the discovery.

Did I help block the Mayor's Slam Dunk when I pointed out Fountain got no repercussions for doing the same thing Reynold's did?

Hmmmm.

More on this tomorrow!



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

We all know what happened. Hayward's attorney knows that Hayward isn't smart enough to answer the type of questions that will be asked of him in a deposition. I would think one of the first questions asked of him would be something like: Mr. Hayward you have just taken an oath to tell the truth didn't you? Are you going to be as truthful as you were back on May 30, 1989? Mr. Hayward I would like to refresh your memory. That was the date that you entered the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and committed several crimes against the state of Florida when you attempted to obtain a fraudulent drivers license in the name of Christopher Barone.

Does Hayward have the moral character to lead the City of Pensacola? Maybe the Pensacola Police Department should lower their hiring standards so they can hire people like Hayward. Surely if an individual has the qualities to be our mayor he has the qualities to be employed at the PPD.

Anonymous said...

Hayward's down with OPP! (Other People's Property). But seriously, how embarrassing it must be to have this guy supposedly representing the citizens of Pensacola.

Anonymous said...

His loser buddy over at the pulse said this is normal business in big city contracts for such great employees...i think hayward is gonna have to pay this back out of his own pocket...why doesnt sherri myers call the SAO or the fbi and demand the investigate?

Anonymous said...

Hayward's criminal history would disqualify him for a job with the PPD, PFD, any job working with children, or any job requiring a CDL; yet, he makes employment decisions on those employees? This makes Podunk Pensacola look pretty bad in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

When you have the likes of Ashton Hayward making decisions as Mayor it's easy to understand how a "slam dunk" can turn into a double dribble!