Oops, Marty got caught doing backroom deal

August 8, 2006

shockMarty “I’m upset about the process” Donovan makes a big deal of the CMP supporters meeting with the city councilmen individually and in private. “I believe we should talk about issues in the public,” Marty told listeners on WCOA’s “Luke McCoy Speaks” radio show yesterday.

Marty wants us to forget about how he got caught privately lobbying ECUA board members last March. He wanted them to pressure the City for money to move the plant in hopes of stopping the CMP vote. He saw nothing wrong about meeting behind closed doors on an issue that could cost Pensacola taxpayers millions – not CRA funds, but their tax dollars.

Here is the PNJ article for those we forgot the details:

Donovan draws ire of other members

Pensacola News Journal (FL)
March 11, 2006
Author: Alvin Peabaody

Pensacola City Council members plan to meet March 20 to discuss whether to reprimand or censure fellow member Marty Donovan, who some believe overstepped his authority.

Donovan downplayed such a move on Friday, saying he was not speaking for the full council when he talked with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority board members earlier this week about financial support from the city to relocate the Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant from downtown Pensacola to Cantonment.

In a letter to ECUA Board Chairman Logan Fink on Thursday, Pensacola Mayor John Fogg did not mention Donovan by name. But he charged that a “City Council member had contacted ECUA members suggesting a need for the ECUA to request a specific level of funding from the city by the end of March or risk losing any financial support from the city.”

Neither Fogg nor Donovan attended Thursday’s council meeting, but Councilman Jack Nobles, serving as acting mayor, read Fogg’s letter to the council.

“This contact was inappropriate, without any direction from the City Council and clearly does not reflect the view of the clear majority of the Pensacola City Council,” Fogg said in his letter to Fink.

After reading the letter, Nobles said he agreed.

“As a member of this council for over 11 years, I can’t remember when a council member has stepped out and spoken for a City Council without the written expressed authority,” Nobles said. “I think this calls for some sort of reprimand.”

Donovan wrote Fogg on Friday, saying he’d done nothing wrong.

“You know as well as anyone that I have never purported to speak on behalf of the City Council,” he wrote.

In a reference to his frequent disagreements with other council members, Donovan continued: “To say the least, my views are often markedly different from yours and those of our other colleagues. I would be shocked — and frankly very concerned — if anyone seriously believed we were all marching lockstep and that one of us was speaking for the body as a whole.”

Donovan said Friday he contacted Fink and two other members because he was concerned about funding availability to relocate the plant.

“My thinking was that ECUA would make a contingent funding request that would allow the city to pledge that amount and set it aside,” Donovan said. “If, after six months or so, ECUA says it doesn’t need the money, at least we would have it to do other things. Or, if they need it, we’d have it available.”

Fink said Friday he and Donovan talked in broad terms.

“I told him that we were not at that stage to do what he was requesting from us,” Fink said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced last month that it had agreed to pay $151 million to repair and upgrade the sewage plant. Most of that money eventually may be used for a new plant.

State and other sources also have pledged $37 million in grants and loans, but that leaves another $130 million that local and state governments must come up with — unless the project wins approval from a special FEMA program that would pay the entire cost of relocation.

ECUA Executive Director Steve Sorrell made a similar point at a council committee meeting Monday, when he told members that he wouldn’t know for six months how much money would be needed from the city.

Several council members plan to press the Donovan issue further when the Committee of the Whole meets March 20.

“I hate to bring this up, but could there be a censure move by the other members of the council to ensure that this doesn’t happen?” Smith asked City Attorney John Fleming at Thursday’s council meeting.

Fleming replied that a censure would be legally permissible. He also said that in his 26 years with the city, he couldn’t recall a council member being censured.

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