Monday, February 29, 2016

Automatic Aid...Hayward Wants to Give City Services Away

The recent tragic fire that killed 4 children has raised the issue of automatic aid once again.  The fire occurred near Pensacola High School in a tiny pocket that is zoned County but is just minutes away from several Pensacola Fire Stations.  I understand the engines from the County that responded to the fire were from Marcus Pointe.

The last time this issue was prominent in the news was when Jerry's Cajun Cafe burned down less than a half mile from Pensacola Fire Station 6.  When it was discussed before the City was using its rescue trucks which sit idle now and had a fully staffed airport fire station.  Automatic aid didn't make sense then and certainly does not make sense now.

Pensacola and the Escambia County Fire Department operate under a policy of mutual aid.  Mutual aid requires one fire department to contact the other fire department to request aid.

All Escambia County had to do was make a call for mutual aid and PFD would have responded.  No such call was made.

Automatic aid would dispatch the closest fire department to any call regardless of the jurisdiction.

In the news story below, the Mayor wants to enter into an automatic aid agreement with Escambia County.  He has City Administrator Eric (Mork) Olson on it.

"We think the landscape is different now, just in the terms of relationship between the county and city, relationships between the two fire departments," he said.

Olson said the talks are still early.

http://weartv.com/news/local/house-fire-that-killed-4-kids-prompts-talks-of-automatic-aid

City Citizens...You pay for City fire services and police services. You also pay for County fire and sheriff services.

When Hayward came into office he touted annexation as the way to grow our City.  If Hayward and Mork give away our City Fire Services for free, why in the name of (Insert Emphasis Statement Here) would any county resident want to be annexed?

Here are a few questions:
  • Station 6 is the backup for Mork and Mayor's "two men and a truck" safety program at the Airport.  If Engine 6 is running down Creighton to a slip and fail at University Mall (County) who is protecting Districts 1 and 2 and backing up the Airport?
  • Station 4 is the Station on Q Street on the Western boundary of the City.  If Engine 4 is running down toward New Warrington Road to respond to a vehicle fire, who is is going to handle a situation at the Maritime Park.
These are not simple issues.  But taxpayers deserve the services they pay for AND taxpayers don't deserve the services they don't pay for.

Why should the City taxpayers subsidize the County's fire service.

To be fair, the City located its fire stations in the 1960's with the expectation of growth and annexation.  Why do your think the stations are at the edge of the City limits?

If we want to be fair to the taxpayers AND make people on the edge of the current City limits safer, the answer is annexation not automatic aid.

If you ask people that live in the County if they would pay 60% more in property taxes to have better fire service, the answer you get is almost always NO.

But as we have all heard before, why buy the cow when your can get the milk for free.







Thursday, February 25, 2016

Statement From AM 1620 Regarding Mayoral Interview of 2/24

We had a simple technical error yesterday during the program, and as a result the Mayor's interview did not get recorded in any form.  Given how often we normally use news clips from his interviews and also try to make full versions of them available online, this was frustrating for us all.

Who finally told the Mayor Eau Claire Estates was in the City?

I grew up on LaBorde Lane in Eau Claire Estates about a football field away from the damaged homes on La Nain.  This neighborhood is part of the City of Pensacola.  Always has been.  Evidently the Mayor didn't know that yesterday when he was being interviewed by Andrew McKay as he stated that the only damage in the City of Pensacola was minor with some trees down.

Why?  Because as his AM 1620 intro music states "Downtown" is all he cares about.

AM 1620 has conveniently no podcast of the Mayor of Pensacola doing the interview yesterday. Wonder if the Mayor's PR folks called them once they heard the interview and asked their "news partner" to take it down?

I'm sure once someone told the Mayor that Eau Claire Estates was in the City, he got all tingly about getting to photo op with the Governor.

Ashton Hayward is an out of touch empty suit.

Mayoral Podcasts on 1620

Why is only one missing?

Inquiring minds want to know?

Andrew?  Newsman or Mayoral Infomercial Host?






Monday, February 22, 2016

A Position Made For Sisson

When Ed Sisson and Jose were brought to Pensacola, it was not to be the Chief Human Resource Officer.

No...that is a job description he created for himself once he got here.

The City first established the role on February 2, 2015.

http://cityofpensacola.com/DocumentCenter/View/3204

I can find no record of it ever being advertised.

Where have we seen ready made job descriptions being done before?




Friday, February 19, 2016

Ed Sisson Could Go to JAIL

447.203 Definitions.As used in this part:
(2) “Public employer” or “employer” means the state or any county, municipality, or special district or any subdivision or agency thereof which the commission determines has sufficient legal distinctiveness properly to carry out the functions of a public employer.

447.401 Grievance procedures.Each public employer and bargaining agent shall negotiate a grievance procedure to be used for the settlement of disputes between employer and employee, or group of employees, involving the interpretation or application of a collective bargaining agreement. Such grievance procedure shall have as its terminal step a final and binding disposition by an impartial neutral, mutually selected by the parties; however, when the issue under appeal is an allegation of abuse, abandonment, or neglect by an employee under s. 39.201 or s. 415.1034, the grievance may not be decided until the abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child has been judicially determined. However, an arbiter or other neutral shall not have the power to add to, subtract from, modify, or alter the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. If an employee organization is certified as the bargaining agent of a unit, the grievance procedure then in existence may be the subject of collective bargaining, and any agreement which is reached shall supersede the previously existing procedure. All public employees shall have the right to a fair and equitable grievance procedure administered without regard to membership or nonmembership in any organization, except that certified employee organizations shall not be required to process grievances for employees who are not members of the organization. A career service employee shall have the option of utilizing the civil service appeal procedure, an unfair labor practice procedure, or a grievance procedure established under this section, but such employee is precluded from availing himself or herself to more than one of these procedures.

and the PENALTY

447.14 Penalties.Any person or labor organization who shall violate any of the provisions of this part shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How the Pulse is Damaging the Reputations of the Chiefs

The inaccurate and false reporting of the Mayor's word burper and his pedicab flunky is disgusting although anyone that knows these two should not be surprised.

Cosson and Buchanan started the Pulse for Bob Kerrigan to have an outlet for good news all the time for and about the Mayor.  They go on and on about their journalistic integrity and mission: to provide the Gulf Coast with free, fair, and independent journalism. But when you break it down they fill around their personal agenda articles with press releases and historical photo montages.

At their base, they are political hacks.

For example, let's break down their "news" coverage of the Fire Chief story.  Italics are Pulse quotes:

February 17  - Facebook - Two suspended Pensacola Fire Department officials were involved in an employee complaint just months ago False and defamatory; suspended is a disciplinary action.  The chiefs are on non-disciplinary administrative leave.  Cosson knows this but continues to defame.

February 17 - Pensacola Deputy Fire Chief was Subject of 2015 Complaint - Biased with Intent to Mislead The Pensacola Deputy Fire Chief was Cleared in a 2015 Complaint
  • Two suspended Pensacola Fire Department officials - False and defamatory; suspended is a disciplinary action.  The chiefs are on non-disciplinary administrative leave.  Cosson knows this but continues to defame.
  • were involved in a complaint filed last year - Technically correct but intentionally misleading; Schmitt was involved only because he was the department head dealing with the issue and in their roles both men are probably "involved" one way or another in EVERY complaint at the Fire Department.  How many other complaints were the Chiefs "involved" in Derek?
  • a decision that was later overturned by the City's human resources office - Biased to protect Sisson; Sisson, the HR Director overturned the decision.  There was not a departmental meeting held to discuss the matter.  The office didn't vote to overturn. One guy! Period!
  • the complaint alleged that Glover, along with [others] conspired - False and defamatory; in the "complaint" posted the term conspire is never mentioned or even alluded to.
The Pulse continues to note that the incident resulted in discipline for the employee for using the City's discipline system for personal non-city issues.

What the Pulse did not discuss:
  • Were proper HR procedures followed by Schmitt? Yes!
  • Does Sisson have the authority to overrule the Chief? No!
  • Where is that authority in the City HR manual?
  • What was the grievance policy that should have been followed?
  • What should have been done under the City's Collective Bargaining Agreement?
Drive by, hit job journalism from the Pulse.

February 11 - Olson gags city employees on fire investigation False and Misleading; Cosson knows the email was to threaten City employees but only dealt with speaking "on behalf of the City". Cosson is using the Pulse to spread fear through the employee ranks to keep the truth suppressed as Olson intended.

Pensacola city employees are prohibited from speaking publicly about an ongoing investigation into two fire department officials, according to an email sent by city administrator Eric Olson to all employees this morning. False and Misleading; Cosson knows the email was to threaten City employees but only dealt with speaking "on behalf of the City". Cosson is using the Pulse to spread fear through the employee ranks to keep the truth suppressed as Olson intended.

“If you should do so, you may be subject to disciplinary action,” Olson wrote. Misleading; Cosson knows the email was to threaten City employees but only dealt with speaking "on behalf of the City". Cosson is using the Pulse to spread fear through the employee ranks to keep the truth suppressed as Olson intended.

February 9Olson: Fire officials suspended in response to EEOC complaints False and defamatory; suspended is a disciplinary action.  The chiefs are on non-disciplinary administrative leave.  Cosson knows this but continues to defame.

Eric Olson confirmed that the recent decision to suspend two top fire officials was made in response to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints which the men had filed. False and defamatory; suspended is a disciplinary action.  The chiefs are on nondisciplinary administrative leave.  Cosson knows this but continues to defame.

Olson also categorically denied that the suspension of Glover — the fire department’s highest-ranking African-American — had anything to do with race. False and defamatory; suspended is a disciplinary action.  The chiefs are on nondisciplinary administrative leave.  Cosson knows this but continues to defame.

Well I think you see how the Pulse attempts to taint the reputation of the Chiefs while "reporting" their facts.  Each time Cosson writes inaccurately "suspended" it puts an internet falsehood attached to both Schmitt and Glover's name forever.

Let's look forward at the intended outcome of this debacle.  In my opinion, Hayward, Olson and Sisson are just trying to attach enough slime to Schmitt and Glover that neither is a realistic candidate for Chief going forward, that both will be reinstated but will be encouraged to retire ASAP and that the discrimination case will have enough clouds to provide potential cover for the City's EEOC violations.

Cosson is either a terrible reporter or is intentionally providing the slime coating his handlers and "advertisers" demand.

By the way, evidently his attempts to garner additional advertisers is failing and this "commercial enterprise" is starting to sink as he and the pedicabber are already begging for breadcrumbs from the public.


Hard to run from that past in Pensacola Derek.  You made your bed.  You sold your soul.  Now the Devil forgot your name.

Server costs?  Kerrigan must not be seeing the vision anymore. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Public Records Request of Employee Discipline Reversal by Sisson

W001179-021716
jklmn246@gmail.com


Dear Maren DeWeese: 

Thank you for your interest in public records of the City of Pensacola. Your request was received in this office on 2/17/2016 and assigned this reference number W001179-021716 and will be processed in the order in which it is received. Please use this number when corresponding with the Public Records office.


Record Requested: Any and all investigation notes, emails, correspondence, evidence, grievance documents, reports, forms, human resource action forms, notifications or other information provided to, relied upon or produced by Ed Sisson in reversing the [Discipline] of [Employee] who was  [Disciplined]
To view status updates regarding your request, please follow this link Sunshine Center, then click on "View My Public Records Requests." Do not use the "sign in" tab located at the very top right side of the page.

For additional information regarding your request, please call (850) 435-1804 or email publicrecords@cityofpensacola.com. You will receive an email when your request has been completed.

Again, thank you for using the Sunshine Center.

Maxwell Branham
Public Records Coordinator
City of Pensacola


Keep piggy backing on others investigations and spinning it for the Mayor and Olson, Derek.
Then go post links with false statements everywhere like you have done something. 
Keep dragging the names of employees cleared by the department through your Kerrigan / Hayward / Olson spin.
You are guessin Derek since no one will talk to you, you pizza chip.

Why didn't you post on your Kerrigan funded site that Sisson violated the grievance process?
Carry that water Derek.  Sit, heal, fetch!  Good dog!


Sisson Unilaterally Overruled Chief Schmitt's Employee Action And Violated Documented Grievance Policy

In a recent post, I detailed the objection of Chief Schmitt to an investigation conducted by City HR Director Ed Sisson without his or Chief Glover's knowledge.  The email he sent to Olson objecting was followed by a personal visit from Olson stating that "no investigation was done"

On Thursday December 17, 2015, at 11:15 am, Chief Matt Schmitt emailed City Administrator Eric Olson stating:

"Eric: I learned Tuesday (December 15) from a fire department employee that was directed to contact me by the HR Director that an investigation has been conducted by the HR department including interviews with fire department employees as part of the investigation. I myself nor the Deputy Chief have any knowledge or have been advised of said investigation.  Please advise."

https://www.scribd.com/doc/298981124/MX-2615N-20160209-164236


In response to a public records request concerning documents leading up to the Schmitt/Olson exchange, I have received supporting documents which indicate that not only did Sisson conduct an investigation without notifying the Chief, he reversed a human resource action that Schmitt had approved and forwarded to Sisson for implementaion.

September 15, 2015 - Chief Matt Schmitt takes disciplinary action against one of his department's employees, a firefighter.  The disciplinary action form indicates the employee is part of a Collective Bargaining Unit, namely the Fire Lieutenants.

A personnel action form PF-501 is signed by Schmitt and forwarded to HR Director Sisson as being effective September 14, 2015.

Another form PF803CB is also completed for the disciplinary action. It is signed by Schmitt and the employee acknowledging receipt of the document.

The acknowledgement states:
Note to employee: Because you are a member of a collective bargaining unit, if you choose to appeal or grieve this disciplinary action, your grievance and/or appellate process must follow the terms of the bargaining agreement.  Unless an appeal or grievance is properly made, this disciplinary action stands confirmed without any further action.

The City's own form states that whether a member of a collective bargaining unit is a member of the Union or not, the grievance procedures are the same for all members of the collective bargaining unit.

Under the IAFF Collective Bargaining Agreement there are required procedures for employees wishing to challenge or grieve an employment action.

STEP 2. If the grievance is not resolved in Step 1, the Union may, within ten (10) calendar days of the alleged violation, reduce the grievance to writing on a grievance form and present it to the Fire Chief. The grievance form shall specify the particular Article, Section and provision of this Agreement alleged to have been violated, shall contain a complete and detailed statement of the facts upon which the grievance is based, including date of occurrence, shall specify the proposed remedy, shall be signed and dated by the employee or (if applicable) by his Union representative. Grievances submitted which do not contain the above information shall be considered null and void. Upon receipt of the grievance, the Chief or his designee shall record the time and date of receipt, shall consider the written grievance, shall investigate the same to the extent he chooses, and shall resolve or deny the grievance within ten (10) calendar days.

IAFF-CONTRACT

No appeal or grievance document is in the employee file.  No documentation of the employee following the required IAFF contract procedure is in the file. No documentation of the employee contacting the HR Director is in the file nor the discussions, evidence presented or the investigation performed by the HR Administrator surrounding the grievance of the discipline.

Furthermore, and most troubling, there is indisputable documentation of the City HR Director going outside the negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement with the IAFF to:
  1. Intervene on behalf of a represented employee outside of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  2. Launching his own investigation without the knowledge of Chief Schmitt or Chief Glover
  3. Overruling the Chief's disciplinary action in violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement
The employee that was disciplined had initially written a complaint regarding actions he alleged that the Fire Department deemed not related to City business and thus was inappropriate to be made within the work environment.  The employee wrote in a memo included in his file that:

My complaint was not investigated initially, but was subsequently investigated by the Human Resources Department after my [discipline].  I along with another firefighter, was able to submit evidence to the Human Resources Administrator to back up the claims made by the complaint timeline.  On December 18, 2015, three months into my [discipline], I met with the fire chief and was made aware that the decision to [discipline] me for filing a complaint was overturned by the Human Resources Administrator.  

Facts above which are clear and irrefutable:
  1. The City Human Resources Administrator failed to follow the grievance processes detailed in the IAFF Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated by the City and identified in the Form PF803CB signed by the employee.
  2. The City Human Resources Administrator failed to follow the Firefighter Bill of Rights as detailed in the Florida Statutes in investigating a complaint against a fire department employee. Neither Chief Schmitt nor Chief Glover were ever notified of a complaint nor an investigation as required under the Firefighter Bill of Rights.
  3. The City Human Resources Administrator exceeded his authority and violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement in circumventing the contractual process and reversing the discipline issued by the Chief in accordance with the Bargaining Agreement in that:
    • The City Human Resources Administrator did not follow the appropriate procedures surrounding the grievance process in the contract as stated in the City's own PF803CB Form.
    • All personnel actions subsequent to the discipline of the protected employee should have been conducted in accordance with the established Collective Bargaining Agreement as noted on the Form PF803CB.
The actions of the City Human Resources Administrator appear to have violated a City Collective Bargaining Agreement, violated the City's Policy for Grievances noted on the Form PF803CB, subjected the City to potential issues with the Union, circumvented the Fire Department's documented processes and procedures, violated the contractual rights of the disciplined employee, and caused unnecessary damage to reputation of the City as a Collective Bargaining partner.

Ed Sisson is terrible at his job.
Ed Sisson should be terminated.

Eric Olson tried to cover this matter up rather than disciplining Ed Sisson for this illegal actions under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and City's documented Grievance Policy.
Transparency is a commitment (window dressing) of Mayor Hayward to the Citizens.
Eric Olson violated his commitment.

In my opinion, 
  1. Eric Olson has no integrity.  He does not stand for that which is right.
  2. Eric Olson did not tell the truth nor ensure that the truth is known.  Eric Olson lied.
  3. Eric Olson did not embrace fairness in his actions.
Eric Olson should be terminated.










Tuesday, February 16, 2016

EEOC Findings and Opinions that Appear Relevant

I did a little research into EEOC matters to see if the City is handling the Fire Chief debacle appropriately under EEOC guidelines.  Here is some of that research:

An initial inference of retaliation arises where there is proof that the protected activity and the adverse action were related. Typically, the link is demonstrated by evidence that:
(1) the adverse action occurred shortly after the protected activity, and 
(2) the person who undertook the adverse action was aware of the complainant's protected activity before taking the action. 

Even if the respondent produces evidence of a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the challenged action, a violation will still be found if this explanation is a pretext designed to hide the true retaliatory motive. Typically, pretext is proved through evidence that the respondent treated the complainant differently from similarly situated employees or that the respondent's explanation for the adverse action is not believable. Pretext can also be shown if the respondent subjected the charging party's work performance to heightened scrutiny after she engaged in protected activity


Separation to Prevent Retaliation:

It is important during an investigation that the complainant and the harasser have no or very limited interaction if required by the nature of their jobs. This may require putting the harasser on administrative leave, moving him to another building, changing his shift, etc. The employer must minimize the opportunities for further harassment and/or retaliation to occur. During the investigation, the work conditions of the complainant should generally not be changed unless she agrees to it. Hence, her duty station, hours of work, job assignments, and benefits should not change. Any change to her normal work routine might be considered retaliation. Unpaid leaves of absences for the complainant until the investigation is finished might be perceived as retaliation since she is losing income when she otherwise could be working.

Source: William R. Tamayo, Regional Attorney, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, San Francisco District

The method by which most plaintiffs attempt to establish the causal relationship relates to the timing of the adverse action. Close temporal proximity between the protected activity and the adverse employment action permits an inference of the causal nexus necessary for a finding of retaliation. The Ruffino court held that the adverse actions taken against the plaintiff, including unfair monitoring, criticism, an unfair performance review, and pay cut, occurred and escalated during and immediately following her decision to pursue her sexual harassment complaints, thereby satisfying the causation requirement.

understanding-and-preventing-workplace-retaliation




Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sisson Fails to Follow Professional / Industry Guidance in Employee Manuals

SHRM - Society for Human Resource Management

Though not required by law, employers should consider requiring employees to sign the employee handbook acknowledgment form. In addition, employers may require employees to sign an acknowledgment whenever an updated handbook is distributed.

Because an employee handbook outlines the policies and guidelines of the organization, it is an important part of the employment process for employees. The purpose of a signed acknowledgment is to demonstrate that the employee has not only received the handbook but is also responsible for knowing the information contained within the handbook. Depending on the language in the acknowledgment form, signing this form can also demonstrate that the employee understands the “at-will” statement and that nothing in the handbook creates an “employment contract” with the organization. Employers that have proof that an employee received a handbook may find that it becomes critical in legal disputes.

http://www.shrm.org/templatestools/hrqa/pages/signeehandbook.aspx

Distribute, distribute, distribute

To be an effective management tool, personnel policies and employee handbooks must be distributed to all employees. Employers all too often overlook the need to communicate handbook and other policy changes to their employees and underestimate the importance of requiring employees to acknowledge their receipt of a revised policy. A signed acknowledgment is important proof that employees have received and are aware of your current policies — thus negating any claim that an employee “didn’t know” about your rules.

Consequently, whenever you implement a policy change, you should distribute the changed policy to all employees and require some type of written acknowledgment that they have received it. The signed acknowledgments should be kept in employees’ personnel files.

Changes in policies and employee handbooks must also be communicated to your supervisors, and they must be trained on the meaning and impact of the policy changes. Without knowledge of the changes or training on how to properly apply new policies, supervisors are much more likely to enforce your rules incorrectly or make decisions that result in inconsistent treatment — which often leads to claims of discrimination.

employee-handbook-helper-communicating-policy-changes/


HRCI CODE OF ETHICS

6. USE OF INFORMATION

As an HR Certification Institute certificant you must consider and protect the rights of individuals, especially in the acquisition and dissemination of information while ensuring truthful communications and facilitating informed decision making. You will:
Acquire and disseminate information through ethical and responsible means.
• Ensure only appropriate information is used in decisions affecting the employment relationship.
• Investigate the accuracy and source of information before allowing it to be used in employment related decisions.
• Maintain current and accurate HR information.
• Safeguard restricted or confidential information.
• Take appropriate steps to ensure the accuracy and completeness of all communicated information about HR policies and practices.
• Take appropriate steps to ensure the accuracy and completeness of all communicated information used in HR-related training.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THERE IS A METHOD TO BRING CHARGES AGAINST HIM WITH HIS ORGANIZATION IN HIS CODE OF ETHICS

https://www.hrci.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/code-of-ethical-and-professional-responsibility.pdf?sfvrsn=0
____________________

It is clear that Ed Sisson, SPHR, CEBS, RPA, GBA, HIJKLMNOP has:
  • Caused additional issues in an ongoing employment issue due to his failures
  • Failed to timely notify employees of HR Manual Changes
  • Failed to implement the Personnel Board the City committed to the State of Florida
  • Failed to have a thorough knowledge of the City's HR policies and procedures
  • Attempted to manipulate the employee selectee process for the Personnel Board
Ed Sisson is terrible at his job.
Ed Sisson should be reported to his oversight organization
Ed Sisson should be terminated.



Friday, February 12, 2016

Why is the Battalion Chief ALSO Not on Administrative Leave?

Evidently, they are investigating the Chiefs according to Council President Charles Bare on WEAR.

Council President Charles Bare was quoted by WEAR stating:

“They had deviated from the procedure they used to use and are now using a procedure that’s warranted an investigation,” Bare explained, saying the information came from a private meeting with Rusty Wells, special assistant to the city administrator.

“There was a pool of employees and apparently the chief and deputy chief picked eight of them to interview and it was a departure from the way they've done it in the past,” Bare said.

The process noted above was administered by a Battalion Chief, who lists his position on Linkedin as Battalion Chief (Training and Safety Officer).

I understand he was the point of contact for all applicants.

The Battalion Chief continues to be on the job, while Schmitt and Glover are on leave that runs out today.

Why?

The question being asked:  Is the Battalion Chief's cousin at City Hall protecting him?







Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nothing About This Screams Employment Issues With the City.

http://www.pnj.com/story/news/local/pensacola/2016/02/11/city-employees-could-face-discipline-speaking-out/80235334/

City Employees

Dr. Evil - Olson
Mini Me - Sisson
Employees - Scott

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32C0eKRQVt8


From: Maren DeWeese
Date: February 11, 2016
To: All City Staff
Subject: Communications on Behalf of Yourself

All City Employees,

In your capacity as Citizens, you are authorized to speak on behalf of yourself about the following subject matters:

  1. any ongoing investigations within the fire department
  2. any pending EEOC claims against the City; or
  3. any current City employees placed on administrative leave.
If you should do so, you may be subject to nothing.

As always, feel free to anonymously post your thoughts to my blog!

Respectfully,

Maren DeWeese
Fellow Citizen


Eric Olson and Edward Sisson Involved In Cover-Up of Fire Investigation?

On Thursday December 17, 2015, at 11:15 am, Chief Matt Schmitt emailed City Administrator Eric Olson stating:

"Eric: I learned Tuesday from a fire department employee that was directed to contact me by the HR Director that an investigation has been conducted by the HR department including interviews with fire department employees as part of the investigation. I myself nor the Deputy Chief have any knowledge or have been advised of said investigation.  Please advise."

https://www.scribd.com/doc/298981124/MX-2615N-20160209-164236

Based on the email alone, if correct,:
  • Did HR Director (Sisson) follow the procedures codified in the Florida Statutes under the Firefighters Bill of Rights for interviewing firefighters?
  • Why was the department head (Schmitt) not notified of the HR investigation?
  • What was the nature of the investigation?
  • What were the findings of the investigation?
If the investigation occurred, the potential HR failures would be significant and clearly warranted the concern of the Department Head and Chief.

Olson forwarded Schmitt's email to Sisson at 12:13 PM without comment.

Based on Olson's City phone records, at 12:17 pm Sisson called Olson for 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

Then with intention and forethought to avoid public records which might further document the personnel actions and city employer actions, Eric Olson drove from City Hall to the Fire Department headquarters.

When he arrived, he met with the Chief and I understand he instructed him to never send him emails regarding City issues and that they would not refer to the investigation as an investigation regardless of what happened.

Items to Note from This Episode if Correct

  • The City Administration intentionally attempts to keep from documenting its actions, including HR actions by ordering employees not to communicate by email and not to create documents.
  • This stance in HR matters has been ongoing for years and is an intentional attempt to minimize evidence that may support claimant sworn testimony in outside (EEOC, DOL, etc) investigations.
  • Employees are being denied critical evidence which would prove the City's illegal actions in employee matters.
  • This practice could be a clear case of malfeasance on the part of Eric Olson in that he wasted taxpayer resources (ie. salary) to leave City Hall to personally drive to the fire department headquarters to communicate the matter to Schmitt expending resources far in excess of other means of communication.
  • This type of malfeasance is present everyday in City Hall such as when seventh floor employees are instructed not to send emails but hand walk messages to seventh floor occupants because emails leave a public record.
  • This type of malfeasance has been present in City Hall for years at the direct instruction of the Mayor and his staff.
  • Sworn testimony should be taken immediately to require City leaders under oath to acknowledge these instructions regarding  the "no email" policy is in place.
  • If the above is correct, Eric Olson intentionally and with forethought attempted to claim an HR investigation which had already occurred would not be considered an investigation for HR purposes. 
  • If the HR investigation referred to in the email did in fact happen and the department head was not aware of the investigation, City HR policies were not properly followed by the HR director or Olson in this matter.









Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Has Rusty Wells Been Violating the Firefighters Rights?

Rick Outzen reported that Assistant City Attorney Rusty Wells has been briefing Council on the Firefighters investigation.

http://ricksblog.biz/pensacola-city-council-told-fire-chief-and-deputy-chief-focus-of-the-investigation/

According to Rick,

"Assistant City Attorney Rusty Wells has been briefing the city council privately on the investigation that prompted City Administrator Eric Olson to place Fire Chief Matt Schmitt and Deputy Chief Joe Glover on administrative leave."

Further Charles Bare told WEAR:

“They had deviated from the procedure they used to use and are now using a procedure that’s warranted an investigation,” Bare explained, saying the information came from a private meeting with Rusty Wells, special assistant to the city administrator.

If so Wells should be terminated immediately, AGAIN!

Under the City Charter, the Mayor has the sole power and duty to:
(1) To exercise the executive powers of the City and supervise all departments, including, but not limited to, the power to appoint, discipline, and remove all officers and employees, unless otherwise provided in this Charter."

One of the Mayor's employees, Wells, is disclosing information regarding HR issues relating to two other of the Mayor's employees to people with no need to know as the Mayor is responsible for all HR matters for City employees.

Council has no need to know!

Wells is violating the rights of Schmitt and Glover each time he discloses an internal HR investigation to others when the men Wells says are under investigation have not been informed of the charges against them.

Wells, as an Assistant City Attorney, has no more legal authority under employment law to brief Council on these confidential matters than to brief me on the matter.

Rusty has got to go, AGAIN!





City Employees...Introducing your new HR Manual

Today on AM 1620, Mayor Hayward was asked what will happen to the Chiefs under the City's administrative leave policy after the paid 10 calendar day limit noted in the City's HR Manual expires.

http://podcast.newsradio1620.com/index.php/post/3512/Ashton_Hayward_-_Mayor_of_Pensacola

In the interview, Hayward states:

"If I can extend it, if its legally able to do that...blah blah blah"

Excuse me?  Doesn't the HR Manual mean anything?

Its states:

"If separation from employment or some other form of resolution does not occur within the ten (10) calendar days, personal time off leave or leave without pay must be used in lieu of administrative leave."

MUST!

HR Manual Page 36

By the way Sisson, you are terrible at your job!

The HR Manual you changed without telling any employees still lists the Personnel Board you and Olson abolished in the table of contents in Section F.

Does no law, rule, statute, policy, commandment or any authority ever apply to the Mayor in Pensacola?

I have developed a new HR manual for the Mayor.  Please find it below.



























Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sisson and Olson are Running Out of Time Under Their NEW HR Policy

I bet Olson and Sisson didn't know this?

"An employee may be placed on administrative leave with pay up to ten (10) calendar days. For pay documentation, a copy of a Personnel Action (PF‐501) must be sent to Human Resources. Note: If separation from employment or some other form of resolution does not occur within the ten (10) calendar days, personal time off leave or leave without pay must be used in lieu of administrative leave."

Calendar Days Boys!  That's Friday!

Your Manual, Your Policies!  Live by them or the EEOC complaint gets MORE TEETH!

And this is exactly why Sisson needs a box and the employees need representation on the Personnel Board!

HR Manual Page 36

AM 1620 Interview Edited Version - Olson FLAT OUT LIES

http://podcast.newsradio1620.com/index.php/post/3508/Eric_Olson_-_Pensacola_City_Administrator

In the interview with Andrew McKay, City Administrator Eric Olson first attempts to deal with the "coincidence" of the HR Manual being changed just hours after Chief Schmitt requested the appeals process when put on administrative leave.

He states that the change timing was just a coincidence and attempts to detail the process by which the change was made.

During the October November time frame Olson states that the City realized it did not have a personnel board as it promised the State of Florida in 2013 when the City's Civil Service was done away with.

City officials committed to replace the Civil Service Board with an Independent Personnel Board (Personnel Board)

“Like the current Civil Service Board, this board would
  1. handle minimum qualification changes,
  2. hear disciplinary appeals from city employees not otherwise protected by collective bargaining contracts, and
  3. be provided an attorney.
The Personnel Board would be composed of three members: one selected by the mayor, one selected by the employees, and one selected by the first two. Each would serve two-year terms. The existing Civil Service Board would assume the role of the new Personnel Board, where the members would finish their current terms and then hold elections according the policies governing the Personnel Board.”

http://ricksblog.biz/pensacola-city-officials-break-commitment-made-to-florida-legislature-in-2013/

He states the City needed the Board going forward and had a HR case that had reached that level so nominations were taken and an election scheduled for December 2, 2015.

THE ONLY NOMINEES were Kurt Larson, who would have to resign from the City Planning Board to sit on the Personnel Board and, yep, Maren DeWeese.

In a senior management meeting held during this time frame, Sisson stated to the entire Senior staff that there "was a nominee for the Personnel Board that we all know we can't have that individual be on the board.  We can't let that happen".

I don't know what Sisson has against Kurt Larson to make him say that!

Amazingly, the incident immediately requiring the Board was settled and the vote of all City employees to anonymously elect an independent representative to hear their HR cases scheduled for December 2, 2015 was cancelled on December 1, 2015 by Ed Sisson with no explanation.

Subsequent to that, the Personnel Board committed to the State of Florida was completely scrapped and now all power sits with the HR manager and the City administrator.

Olson lied.  Otherwise, Mr. Olson, hold the election!  Your Boss committed to the State, you have 2 nominees.

Let the City employees vote!  They don't want to live under Sisson/Olson tyranny.






Monday, February 8, 2016

First Round of Public Records

Link to First Round of Public Records

Above is a link to the response and information received by me in connection with the Schmitt Glover matter.

What these documents show:


  • Page 1 - Russell VanSickle is merely executing what is fed to him in this matter by Sisson.
  • Page 2 - Sisson is terrible and can't even spell MEMORANDUM  
  • Page 2 - Chief Schmitt requested an appeal on site and noted his Firefighter Bill of Rights
  • Page 4 - VanSickle and Sisson met February 3rd.  Shows Sisson directing Van Sickle.
  • Page 10 - My records request.
  • Page 11, 12 - An employee has 3 days to complete any public records activity.  Delays beyond that are outside of City policy and thus intentional delays.
  • Page 15 - Vernon Stewart has The Pulse on post notification.
  • Page 16 - When a Citizen makes a public records request, the requestor's name appears in the system generated Activity Assignment so that everyone knows who is asking.
  • Page 20 - Chief Glover was requesting information regarding investigations by the City Human Resources department from 2011 to 2015 a few weeks before his "leave".
  • Page 23 - Proof Andrew McKay forwards interview questions to the Mayor's staff and scripts his interviews.
  • Page 24 - Vernon Stewart's identification of an independent agency was false...the independent agency was the Mayor's criminal defense firm, not an agency at all.

UPDATE: Eric Olson On Andrew McKay Morning Show Tuesday @ 7:35

Andrew McKay announced today that he will have an exclusive "interview" with City Administrator :Eric Olson tomorrow on AM 1620 AT 7:35

Rick Outzen requested a real interview with Olson, with real questions, based on his blog today.

http://ricksblog.biz/pensacola-black-community-outraged-over-treatment-of-fire-chief-and-deputy-chief/

Olson declined to be interviewed.  InWeekly is not on the Mayor's PR team since Rick is not in this picture.

















Later today I will post the response I received from a public records request of documents related to the personnel action involving the two Chiefs.  What it will show beyond any doubt is AM 1620 scripts out their interviews with Mayor Hayward prior to the interview.  I assume Olson will also be scripted.
  • Questions are texted to Vernon Stewart of the Mayor's office
  • The order of the questions is discussed and agreed
  • The answers to the questions are discussed and agreed
  • Just consider it...an "Audio Upwards"
This interview tomorrow is VERY DANGEROUS for Olson.  
  1. He is the subject of an EEO complaint by the Chief's.
  2. He was so concerned about the appearance of impropriety that when the Chief's were put on leave, he had Wilkins do his dirty work
  3. Based on his and Sisson's new HR manual, Olson is the final reviewer.  Shouldn't he stay out of the public discussion?
  4. The Mayor stated on AM1620 last week that the City would have no comment on the investigation.  Ashton_Hayward_-_Mayor_of_Pensacola
  5. One week, a ton of bad press and a potential illegal act of changing the HR Manual after the personnel actions against the Chief's later, the subject that would not be discussed by the City is going to be discussed by the City?
  6. Why can he discuss it tomorrow but no one could discuss it for a week or disclose it to the Chief's?
For all involved...TAPE THE "INTERVIEW" in case a podcast of the interview conveniently is not made.

Tape it for the EEOC complaint.
Tape it for a possible Firefighter Bill of Rights violation claim.
Tape it for a possible State Attorney inquiry regarding conspiracy regarding the HR practices.

Andrew, if you don't get the City Administrator to answer what he said he would when he made the boneheaded decision to provide evidence in the form of your interview, at least ask the former naval officer what the heck he was thinking when he acted like the village idiot in front of the President of the United States.

Hope Olson doesn't call my boss...Oh, I don't have one.



Friday, February 5, 2016

Hayward and His Independent "News" and Information Team

Sometimes a picture really does say it all!  He whistles....they come!

Posse up media team...time to roll!

Fire Chiefs' Administrative Leave Related to COMPLAINT OF MISCONDUCT

I made a public records request of various documents related to the Schmitt/Glover situation which the City claimed exemption under Public records law.

Here is my request:

“All emails, documents, memorandums, administrative leave letters, HR letters, text messages instant messages, to or from the following employees relating to Chief Schmitt or Asst Chief Glover, their administrative leave and their claims against the City of Pensacola and any individual staff member from January 18, 2016 to February 2, 2016

  • Ed Sisson 
  • Tracy Walsh 
  • Keith Wilkins 
  • Eric Olson 
  • Ashton Hayward 
  • Vernon Stewart”

One statement they made revealed the following:

City asserts that certain records requested are confidential and exempt from inspection and copying under Act and states the statutory bases as follows:

"Section 119.071(2)(k) of Act pertaining to a complaint of misconducted filed with the City against a City employee and all information obtained pursuant to an investigation by the City of the complaint of misconduct."

In order to exempt the data, their must be a complaint of misconduct.

The Data Rick Outzen Discovered

Rick Outzen discovered that the City HR Manual was altered evidently in January 2016 and the altered document was not even posted to the City's website until AFTER Schmitt and Golver were placed and leave. Both asked for an appeal when they were placed on leave as detailed in the ONLY HR Manual they knew of at the time.  Not the Sisson/Olson secretly changed document.

http://ricksblog.biz/city-officials-altered-appeal-process-after-pensacola-fire-chief-and-deputy-chief-placed-on-administrative-leave/

Data doesn't lie folks!  Sisson made the changes just so he and Olson were the ultimate powers regarding employee issues.  This would allow them to get rid of anyone they desired.

Below is a picture of the posting information or metadata for the HR manual online.

Click on it to enlarge.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hayward's Criminal Defense Firm Involved In Fire Dept Investigation?

Mayor Hayward, who is under Federal criminal investigation, uses the Pensacola law firm Beggs & Lane for his personal defense in the Federal probe.

Beggs & Lane is a top tier firm.

But that firm also gets the lions share of all City work when it comes to keeping the Mayor out of trouble or acting as a tool to provide legal cover for the Mayor's actions.

  • Mayor wants to deny Studer lease at Maritime Park...Beggs & Lane raises objections to the lease
  • Mayor gets sued for improper use of veto power...Beggs & Lane argues successfully Plaintiff has no standing...not validity of veto
  • Mayor is sued for denying access of Council to City employees...Beggs & Lane wards off the Council
  • Mayor is sued by Merrill and Russenburger over Fish House lease...Beggs & Lane attempts to have case thrown out and bar video depositions of the Mayor
  • Mayor is sued for illegal gas franchise fees...Beggs & Lane is there to combat the Citizens against their own Mayor
And now, the Mayor wants to bounce his Interim Fire Chief and the Deputy Fire Chief who have both filed EEO claims against his senior staff.

Who ya gonna call?  
Beggs & Lane, of course.  
Will we find out that Beggs& Lane is the "outside agency"?

Well...the Chiefs were told any questions should be directed to:

The Distingushed Russell VanSickle, Esquire  


So...want to know a little more about Russell?

"His practice is focused on representing businesses in complex litigation, including class action and collective action cases, and representing and counseling management in all areas of labor and employment law. He represents employers and management in a wide variety of labor and employment litigation matters, including arbitrations, hearings, and trials in state and federal trial courts and appellate courts, and before governmental agencies, including the EEOC, NLRB, DOL, OSHA, OFCCP, and various state agencies including the Florida Commission on Human Relations."

I'm sorry but Mr. VanSickle's firm is about as independent in City matters as Rob Larkin's Allen Norton & Blue.

Mr. VanSickle is 100% from the management perspective.

Does anyone else hear the sound of railroad engines approaching in the distance?

These two firemen deserve to know who and what they have been accused of and what the City is investigating.

Who's your inside person Mr. Mayor?  Who's feeding Sisson stories from inside the Department?

Whoever that person is will eventually have to SWEAR UNDER OATH OUT IN THE PUBLIC.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Systematic Intentional Embarassment of Two Career Firefighters

Yesterday was another just another day for Interim Fire Chief Matt Schmitt and Deputy Chief Joseph Glover.  They were at their offices in the morning and left together to attend a previously scheduled meeting with Eric Olson.  Nothing all together strange about that. One assumes it must be something the City leadership doesn't want in email.  That's how things work in Pensacola, waste hundreds of dollars in labor time to keep from sending an email that a Citizen might get.

These two career firefighters walk out to the Chief's City vehicle and make the short drive over to City Hall.  When they get there they are escorted to a room and met by Tracy Walsh, the Witness, and Assistant City Administrator Keith Wilkins who they had never met before.

Each man is given a letter, unsigned by any City official, on the Mayor's letterhead, informing them that they are being placed on administrative leave.

From: Keith Wilkins
Re: Administrative Leave

The City has been made aware of circumstances that require an investigation be completed within the Fire Department.  Effective immediately, you are placed on Administrative Leave until otherwise directed.  Your pay and benefits will remain unchanged during the investigation process.

Upon receipt of this memorandum you are required to return any/all City items issued through the City's Technology Resources Office, the Garage and the Human Resources Office.  Specifically, this includes your City identification badge, fleet car keys, building access keys, cell phones, radios, laptops, pagers and/or any and all other items that would provide for your access to City facilities and property. Because you will be on leave with pay, you are expected to receive and return call or other forms of communication from City staff or their representatives until the investigation has been completed.  If you have personal items you wish to collect from your office, you may contact me at 435-5627 and I will arrange their delivery.

Your restrictions are as follows:
  • Immediately and until the investigation is completed, you are not to contact or discuss this investigation with any City employee
  • You are on Administrative Leave and must be available at the City's convenience during normal working hours should we contact/request to meet with you.
  • You will not utilize a take home vehicle.
  • You will not operate a City vehicle.
  • You are to provide in this memorandum the number in which you can be reached during working hours
  • You are prohibited from accessing, directly or through another user, any and all City mainframe or network computer systems containing any and all PFD information.
Failure to comply with the restrictions outlined in this memorandum may subject you to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Through your signature below, you are acknowledging receipt of this memorandum.
__________

With that 2 men that have spent their lives protecting and serving the Citizens of Pensacola were escorted from the building while two senior Hayward officials, the subject of their complaints, sat in their offices, not being placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, one dreaming of his bassett hound and the other looking for someone's boss to call.

The Chiefs were not even provided a ride.  That's right...they had to look for a ride home.

And for what?  They weren't even told!

More later!






















Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Florida Statutes Give Firefighters Protections and Rights...Regardless of Union Status

112.82 Rights of firefighters.Whenever a firefighter is subjected to an interrogation, such interrogation shall be conducted pursuant to the terms of this section.
(1) The interrogation shall take place at the facility where the investigating officer is assigned, or at the facility which has jurisdiction over the place where the incident under investigation allegedly occurred, as designated by the investigating officer.
(2) No firefighter shall be subjected to interrogation without first receiving written notice of sufficient detail of the investigation in order to reasonably apprise the firefighter of the nature of the investigation. The firefighter shall be informed beforehand of the names of all complainants.
(3) All interrogations shall be conducted at a reasonable time of day, preferably when the firefighter is on duty, unless the importance of the interrogation or investigation is of such a nature that immediate action is required.
(4) The firefighter under investigation shall be informed of the name, rank, and unit or command of the officer in charge of the investigation, the interrogators, and all persons present during any interrogation.
(5) Interrogation sessions shall be of reasonable duration and the firefighter shall be permitted reasonable periods for rest and personal necessities.
(6) The firefighter being interrogated shall not be subjected to offensive language or offered any incentive as an inducement to answer any questions.
(7) A complete record of any interrogation shall be made, and if a transcript of such interrogation is made, the firefighter under investigation shall be entitled to a copy without charge. Such record may be electronically recorded.
(8) An employee or officer of an employing agency may represent the agency, and an employee organization may represent any member of a bargaining unit desiring such representation in any proceeding to which this part applies. If a collective bargaining agreement provides for the presence of a representative of the collective bargaining unit during investigations or interrogations, such representative shall be allowed to be present.

(9) No firefighter shall be discharged, disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority, transferred, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined or discriminated against in regard to his or her employment, or be threatened with any such treatment as retaliation for or by reason solely of his or her exercise of any of the rights granted or protected by this part.

Pulse is Being Fed HR Information From Inside City Hall

  1. BREAKING: fire chief and top captain placed on admin leave; Fire Marshal David Allen named interim chief; details to follow
PNJ - Nope!
InWeekly - Nope!
WEARTV - Nope!
AM 1620 - Nope!

The Mayors former word burper and his blog flunky who both are supported by Mayoral Puppet Master Bob Kerrigan.

Shameful behavior!




















Gene Church Out for Another Radio Station Flip?

Low Power Catholic Radio Station Still in the Works but On-Air Date Uncertain

Catholic radio may still be coming to Ave Maria, but it's not clear when.

Promoters of a low-power FM station to broadcast Catholic programming in Ave Maria held meetings with town residents in May to outline their plans and solicit contributions to get the station on the air. They said they needed a total of $75,000 over two years – including $40,000 to initially begin broadcasting, a sum that included purchasing an available FCC license from Naples resident Paul Parshall who received approval from the FCC to construct a broadcasting tower but abandoned the plans.

The new project is being led by Gene Church, the president of Divine Word Radio which currently owns -- but is in the process of selling -- a half-dozen radio stations that broadcast EWTN radio along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The Ave Maria station is a separate undertaking, not affiliated directly with Divine Word Radio, and Mr. Church said his two children, both of whom are students at Ave Maria University, would manage it.

Mr. Church said in a recent interview that although he did not raise sufficient funds in the spring, he borrowed $25,000 to purchase the FCC license from Mr. Parshall before a July deadline to start construction. After the purchase, that deadline was extended for 18 months til January, 2017. He said he has not cashed any checks from his spring fundraising activities and will be going back to those donors to reconfirm their support for the project.

He said one factor in the delay is that he is in the process of selling Divine Word Radio to another Catholic broadcaster based in Texas, La Promesa, which operates the Guadalupe Radio Network.
He also has been dealing recently with a controversy that flared up in Pensacola over a 400-foot broadcasting tower completed this year which local residents are contending is hazardous and was not properly approved.

Once he can focus his attention of Ave Maria, Mr. Church said that he intends to hold another series of meetings with residents seeking support for the project. He said Ave Maria University has agreed to permit construction of a transmitter atop the student union building and although no local programming is planned, he is in discussion with a number of Catholic radio operations to retransmit their content. One of them, he said, is Ave Maria Radio, based in Michigan, which has not been on the air in southwest Florida since Ave Maria University sold its radio license in September, 2014, to an evangelical Protestant radio network for $2.4 million.

Low-power FM stations are non-commercial and have limited range of a few miles -- enough to reach all of the town of Ave Maria but not much further.

Link to Article

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Real Reason the Mayor is Building a New Fire Station

He has to!

In the union agreement below, the City of Pensacola made the following agreement:

SECTION 4. Within 12 months following the Florida Legislature’s approval of the jointly submitted pension changes as outlined elsewhere in this Agreement, the City will have the hazardous mold conditions at Fire Stations 3 and 4 eradicated.

IAFF-CONTRACT-FOR-COUNCIL-2014-2017-201505181433484771

Also in the Agreement it is stated:

SECTION 1. MINIMUM STAFFING – The City agrees to maintain the following minimum levels of
daily staffing in the fire department:

A. 5 Engines each staffed as follows:

1 Captain or Acting Captain
1 Lieutenant or Acting Lieutenant
1 Firefighter

This is what will one day catch up with the Mayor.  Mayor Hayward can only count to 3!!

What is two in / two out?

2. Why is this standard important to fire fighters?
This standard, with its two-in/two-out provision, may be one of the most important safety advances for fire fighters in this decade. Too many fire fighters have died because of insufficient accountability and poor communications. The standard addresses both and leaves no doubt that two-in/two-out requirements must be followed for fire fighter safety and compliance with the law.

But then again laws don't matter to the Mayor!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-in,_two-out

2in2out.pdf