Statement by Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward
I made the decision to terminate Bill Reynolds from his position as City Administrator.
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.
In January, I began the process of separating from my former Chief of Staff, John Asmar. After I started that process, we received an employee complaint. The employee’s concerns were addressed, and the employee chose to withdraw the complaint requesting that the complaint and resolution be kept confidential. While Mr. Asmar was not asked to leave service over these allegations, my plans to end Mr. Asmar’s role with my administration were affirmed and accelerated.
In addition to Mr. Reynolds’s breach of trust, the State Attorney’s Office also found that Mr. Reynolds and Derek Cosson withheld logos in their possession that had been requested through the public records request process. While these actions were unintentional, transparency is critical to the success of our city. To that end, I have revised the City of Pensacola’s Public Records Request Policy, purchased software that will help us to track and fill requests, and I have reached out to Barbara Peterson with the First Amendment Foundation to help with extensive training for our employees. It is my goal to reinforce excellence as a part of our culture when it comes to fulfilling public records requests, and I remain steadfast in my insistence on transparency in my administration.