Letter from Quint to Grover on 12/4 meeting

Grover,

Thank you for attending the first meeting of your Transition Team last week.  I am proud to serve as Chairman and look forward to helping the very talented group of community volunteers you assembled in preparing a report.  As we begin our work I want to make sure that we are meeting your expectations and intentions.  To that end, below is an update on the progress we have made so far as well as my thoughts on what I would like to ask the team members to focus on.  I would greatly appreciate your review and comment on any of these items before our next meeting Tuesday, December 4, 2018.

At all of our meetings we will solicit feedback from the public.  We feel this input is essential to carrying out the mission of the Transition Team.  Further we have established a website to share information and solicit feedback over the internet.  Our TransitionPensacola.com website is up and ready to take feedback. I invite you to view our site and provide any additional ideas you have.  Additionally, every committee leader will be taking citizen input at any town halls or issue specific meeting.

With respect to each particular area, I intend to ask the responsible team member to take certain steps to gather information and input.  I will briefly summarize my thoughts below and ask that you supplement these thoughts and suggestions based on your experience:

On Walkability, I will be asking Drew Buchanan to meet with DIB staff. When nationally renowned parking expert Donald Shoup came to Pensacola, I believe they (Maybe John Peacock) worked more on a parking solution. Dr. Shoup shared all three of his recommendations must be implemented together – not part and parcel. I’d like to make sure there’s a deep dive on that.

Second, Marina from DPZ is also a great resource. I have learned that for us to be successful many zoning and code adjustments will be needed. By success, I mean a safer, healthier city. Also, consistency. As I traveled throughout the city, I see such inconsistency on enforcement. It may be what the code says is not the best anymore. I know that Will Dunaway and Bruce Partington could assist with these issues.

I also want to ensure we look at bus routes. Jeff Speck has done lots of work on bus routes in communities. I will suggest that Drew research that area and meet with county people in that regard.

On finance, Butch Hansen seems to have a good grasp on city finances. He would be good for Bruce Vredenburg to speak with Mr. Hansen. I have questions also on how much of future dollars have been spent – thus will not be available.  Bruce should also review the cities enterprises items like Pensacola Energy and the International Airport, Port, etc.

I have read that over the years there has been a reduction in city employees. What is the status of contracted employees and temporary staff? My experience is that at times it can look like a reduction in labor, however it may not be. Why is this year’s budget the largest yet? Is it pay raises? More Debt? More staff? It will be notable to see those differences

Brian Wyer in Economic Development will be asked to take a look at the Proposal from the University of West Florida to the Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. Why? Triumph when started was very and is very focused on projects that will create jobs now. However, some things have changed since Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. formed such as the job environment. The challenge today is less about creating jobs than about how we can have the talent to fill jobs. In my work with other communities and my last book on Building Vibrant Communities the communities that win, win on talent.  As Andrew Davis, CivicCon speaker, encouraged us to do, we need to put a stake in the ground. From his brief time here, he felt Cybersecurity was a great option for this area to create that stake. Brian should meet with Dr. Saunders at UWF as well to discuss.

On Efficiency: I will ask David Peaden to take a look at the many committees the city operates. What are the desired outcomes are for each committee? Effectiveness? Selection and make up of members? Term limits? City staff support? Also find out what projects have been built or rehabbed in past two years and what city services have they used. I think one of the most impactful changes that could be made in this sector is for those citizens who use city services on project to have the ability to provide feedback on the services. The city should be able to objectively rate attitude, timeliness, accuracy and collaboration.  I believe overall it will lead to hearing many positive things as well as areas to improve. A good two years of data will be helpful. The city may already survey citizens after a project. Grover, do we know if they do? If not, I believe a system should be put in place.

For Schools and Education, safety is such a concern. As Councilwomen Myers shares, often there is concern over safety around schools such as walking safety as well as lighting. I will ask Michelle Salzman to talk with Bruce Watson from the early learning collation – it would be interesting to get his feedback on resources and location of such resources. I believe they have a rating system to lets parents know the quality of where they send their children. If there is such a system, it would be good if we could offer suggestions on how to increase awareness.

With Crime/Safety, Safety is the Number One item in every community. It is great that the reported crime rate is going down. Is that because crime as gone down, or the resources to address crime have been reduced or a bit of both? With the Blue Wahoos we hire many Pensacola Police officers. The professionalism and commitment to their job is second to none. A concern that was shared with me often was the reduction of officers in the neighborhoods and how staffing was calculated. We will see what Connie Bookman learns.

In regards to Environment, at a recent meeting on the master plan of ECUA/CMP, Gloria Horning, in the open forum gave some very scary statistics on quality of water at Bruce Beach. I think Christian Wagley should check it out. What current report card or dashboard exists to let citizens now the quality of air, water, soil, etc.?  Most of us are aware that there are storm water challenges. We also know people live in and have bought houses in very low-lying land. For example, to build on the ECUA site, it will require soil to be brought in. For people who bought property in flooding areas, were they made aware of this? Did the issues occur later due to man-made construction?

On Transparency, I feel good that every city has a web site that excites people to move and live there. I also believe a city site must serve its citizens on what is taking place. Is there a dashboard that exists to show citizens vital statistics? If not, what would city administration like to see? What are some other city best practices? I will ask Sena Madison to check out the city of Janesville, Wisc. and its Website. Open Janesville, Open budget and Open expenditures. I am sure there are many others.

In reading the analysis in the mayor transition binder we all received from Mayor Robinson, there was some mention of opportunities to improve call-in system and tracking or progress. I may be confused however, perhaps there are some opportunities to improve the 311 system.

On Legal. I would think the key is what does a city our size need in terms of legal service and what is the right skills set to have in house? Then we should probably look at the process to outsource legal. I am confident Julie Sheppard can manage these issues.

On Governance, the category is large like the others.  There are many studies Kristie Tobias should get a look at like the diversity study, a report on progress … Some other items that have I recall are homelessness. I believe the city did a study and the council formed a committee. Did they? If so, what happened?  The Hass Center does a survey on city services which is good.  They use a 1-5 scoring system. My experience is a 1-10 will provide better data. They also combined (or maybe this is the city) categories. Satisfied and very satisfied are combined as are the dissatisfied and very dissatisfied. I find this unusual for it can be confusing. If 50 percent of very satisfied and 20 percent are satisfied, then one can say currently that 70 percent of either satisfied or very satisfied. If 20 percent are very satisfied and 50 percent satisfied that also shows 70 percent are either satisfied or very satisfied. My experience is the focus is usually top box and not the combining of the two.

Do we know what Hass Center uses for peer comparisons? I do feel they do an excellent job in their relative priority matrix. I also commend them that there is grading. From example they give Fire an A and storm water infrastructure a C.  How did the grades come about? From example I know in hospitals patients will rate physical therapy usually high and food typically grades lower. Yes, patients rated therapy higher than food. However how does therapy in that hospital compare to therapy in other hospitals? So, with the Hass study how does the citizens of Pensacola rate the services they receive compared to tax payors in other communities? My guess is in every city fire would do well. So, is the citizens perception of fire in Pensacola higher or lower than other cities? These are important questions for Kristie to answer.

Kristie should check out actions leaders take based on results. For example, street lighting has been lower and lower. It is in the leader of that areas plan to improve?

Research shows the direct correlation between clarity and performance. The better the clarity the more likely the performance will be better. If it is not, then the issue is the skill of the person. With her experience in Human resources she should have an understanding of the following:

1.  In the management area, are performance goals for each person in a supervisory role clear? Are they weighted or prioritized? Does each manager have a development plan?
2.  How many hours does the average leader receive in development?
3.  How often do mangers meet as a group with city administrator or designee? Is there a standard agenda?
4.  How is employee engagement currently measured?
5.  What it the employee turnover by year the past three years? Voluntary? Involuntary? By manager?
6.  How many employees are in the due disciplinary process right now?
7.  When was the last compensation study done? By who?
8.  How are open positions advertised internally? Externally?
9.  What is the selection process to fill a position?
10. What is the process to get a new position? Replacement?
11. How are pay increases granted?

I feel it is a good idea to let Council know how staff sees working with them. Perhaps we should ask council members what departments they work mostly with and get their feedback. Same with city staff, how easy is it to work with each council member?

In addition, while I know you are committed to working closely with the Council, let’s have council members define what they need from the Mayor and what working closely looks like.

Thanks for your continued leadership and for hearing out these ideas and thoughts after our first meeting. Thanks in advance for your input and suggestions.  We hope to see you Tuesday.

Quint