We all have ideas that will make Pensacola better. That’s easy. The tough part is making them happen. I have a strong track record of results that have made a real difference. I’m running for mayor because I have a deep passion for my hometown. And I know together — with hard work — we can make great things happen for Pensacola.
The Strong Mayor provided by the city charter means the Mayor is the Chief Executive whose job is to execute and deliver action to make our community better. For these reasons my plan is all about action and my vision of Mayor is all about verbs. My vision of Mayor boils down into three verbs — participate, collaborate, and advocate.
The first and most important verb is participate. Unlike the current administration, I believe it is imperative for the Mayor to join with the City Council in governing.
The first and most important verb is participate. Unlike the current administration, I believe it is imperative for the Mayor to join with the City Council in governing. This goes far beyond attending city council meetings. This includes individual weekly meetings with all seven members to discuss current operations of the city and plans for its future.
A successful Mayor needs to participate with the public regularly. For me, this will be accomplished in several ways, but the first and most essential will be Town Hall meetings in each district rotating monthly. I have done this annually in the different areas of District 4 as County Commissioner and will continue this practice as mayor.
Also, the Mayor needs to participate with the citizens in the development of a plan for each district that meets the needs in that district. Please note I did not say the “Mayor’s plan.” I believe citizen-inspired plans will encourage engagement and generate the most robust long-term benefits.
The mayor should also regularly interact with both the press and citizens to ensure accountability. I plan on a weekly press conference open to all — not to serve as a public relations tool but to openly answer questions related to the city. Government should not only be transparent, but it should also be open to criticism and debate.
Finally, as the city’s chief administrator, the Mayor needs to know the challenges and operations of each department and its employees. Borrowing an idea from former Governor Bob Graham, I plan to participate in monthly work days where I work at the entry-level position in some form of city services rotating districts monthly. Understanding how the city works at each level will make me a more effective Mayor.
The second thing a successful mayor should be doing is collaborate. That collaboration should go beyond meetings with the city council, but rather working with citizens and other jurisdictions.
The second thing a successful mayor should be doing is collaborate. That collaboration should go beyond meetings with the city council, but rather working with citizens and other jurisdictions. The city limits are small but the influence on the Mayor is much broader. This position requires a person who is not only open to teamwork, but who is skilled in bring people together for the common good. If the mayor is going to make all neighborhoods in Pensacola better truly, it will require someone with the capacity to work with everyone, especially those who sometimes disagree.
Part of my plan is to have periodic meetings with county officials as well as other jurisdictions across Northwest Florida. I was able to build a team of local governments to secure the largest outside funding in the RESTORE Act from the oil spill funding. I know we can do even more for Northwest Florida through teamwork.
Collaboration is also critical in working with businesses to create jobs for our citizens. The mayor must have periodic meetings with private sector leaders to ensure the city is doing all they can to cultivate the economic vitality of our community but also to ensure that our businesses are doing all they can to make our community great for our citizens.
While I am thankful that private institutions have promoted civic engagement, such as Civiccon, I believe the Mayor should also be encouraging discussion and dialog. Borrowing from Rick Scott, I would like to have monthly lunches with active citizens from various districts and backgrounds where we can discuss the community and what we can do to make it better.
The final action for a successful mayor is to advocate. A portion of that will be to advocate to the city council and citizens for good, sound public policy. However, the Mayor’s responsibility includes promoting for the community and region in both Tallahassee and Washington.
The final action for a successful mayor is to advocate. A portion of that will be to advocate to the city council and citizens for good, sound public policy. However, the Mayor’s responsibility includes promoting for the community and region in both Tallahassee and Washington. To be successful, the Mayor needs a clear understanding of how various agencies work and interact at all levels of government.
I am the only candidate running who has held local and statewide governmental leadership positions and have relationships at various levels of government. I understand how to position Pensacola to maximize our benefits. Locally, I have twice served as Chair of our Transportation Planning Organization, working to use different sources of DOT funding to support improvements for us in Pensacola. Also, I have also held two statewide leadership positions, President of the Florida Association of Counties and Chairman of the Florida Gulf Consortium.
I am the only one in the race who has a record of advocacy for Northwest Florida in both Tallahassee and Washington. If we are to create the community where we want to live and work, we will need to effectively leverage state and federal funds and support.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my vision. If we elect the best candidate who can participate, collaborate and advocate on our citizens’ behalf, then we will succeed in making Pensacola better and reaching the potential it has to be great. All I ask is that you evaluate each candidate on what they have done to demonstrate their abilities to take action and serve. Please take a look at some examples of the good things I have been able to make happen for community.
— Grover C. Robinson, IV