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Reeves' transition team set for second meeting

City of Pensacola
City of Pensacola

Pensacola Mayor-elect D.C. Reeves convenes his second transition team meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall, as part of the run up to his November 22 inauguration.

In addition to the formal meetings in the Hagler Conference Center, each of the 12 focus group leaders will be holding town hall meetings in the next few weeks.

“This is really first and foremost, I've got quite an amazing, accomplished group of people,” Reeves said. “Who are willing to serve the city and serve their community, and to lend us some of their insight and expertise.”

The mayor-elect’s transition structure is divided into a dozen “pillars,” which will focus on some of the most pressing issues facing Pensacola heading into his administration. The first meeting last week and the next one on Wednesday, are for “meet and greet.”

“To get in the same room and introduce ourselves; these first two meetings will really be centered around equipping our transition team members with everything they need to get out there in the community and come back with the best ideas,” said Reeves. “We'll talk a little bit about the Sunshine Law with city attorney's office, some procedural type of things.”

Overseeing the transition is retired navy Capt. Tim Kinsella, who will report to the mayor-elect the team’s recommendations that are expected to be generated later this year.

“He is the coordinator of the report and he'll have a separate staff that will help get their report together and lend his insight,” said the mayor-elect. “Obviously, he lends the center for Leadership and has such a story decorated career of leadership that I'm certain that many people on our transition team will learn a lot from him.”

One of the pillars covers a long-standing issue —attainable housing. Leading it is Sam Young, president and CEO of Pensacola’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.

“The mayor has, on a number of occasions, addressed attainable housing, affordable housing, as one of his most important objectives,” said Young. “So to be part of that process and to help create his vision for the future is exciting.”

Once the work begins, Young is confident that there will be no shortage of resources to come up with housing ideas and plans. Part of that is reaching out to the community to understand what residents see as the largest housing voids and shortfalls.

“The city's Department of Housing has some strong leadership,” he said. “The ad hoc committee that is a joint advisory committee to both the city and the county, is full of very knowledgeable people. There was an affordable housing task force report that was produced a couple of years ago that has a lot of ideas that were vetted and explored.”

Some of the issues to be tackled in the housing camp is being realized by all housing firms the past couple of years — higher costs for materials and labor, and supply chain issues.

“I'm not sure that a city transition team is going to be able to find solutions for issues that are of macroeconomic scale,” said Young. “But I think it's important that those issues are recognized and acknowledged as we continue to move forward in trying to find these solutions.”

“The next meeting coming up will hopefully get a better idea of kind of a schedule going forward and have some dates that we can put out. Will be reaching out to neighborhood association,” said Kelly Hagen, president of the Council of Neighborhood Association Presidents of Pensacola (CNAPP), who’s heading the environmental pillar of the transition.

She says a city’s environmental landscape —especially one that’s on the coast like Pensacola — is vital to the overall picture.

“We have some aggressive goals that the city of Pensacola had set,” Hagen said. “And I think it's just really important to kind of keep those goals fresh in our minds and continue to push forward. The renewable energy goals are to be 30% renewable by 2030, and 100% renewable by 2040.”

While she says it’s hard to focus on one environmental issue moving forward, Hagen says there is one issue that dear to her, and to the community.”

“Just more trees, planting more trees in the community; we were fortunate enough a couple of years back to get some pretty good protections for our heritage trees added in,” said Hagen. “But we definitely want to see more money coming into the tree fund and more street trees for the community.”

When D.C. Reeves raises high right hand to take the oath of office in two months, he predicts the transaction team’s finished report won’t be far behind.

“We're looking at late November, early December,” said Reeves. “We haven't really pinpointed an exact date, but that will already be a big advantage. Within a matter of days, I will have a full report, uh, where we could start acting on those things.”

The other focus areas, a dozen in all, include Citizen Engagement; Construction and Development, Education, Employee Engagement and Culture, Finance, Livability, Measurable Performance, Military Relations, Public safety, and Strategic Planning.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.