From County Commission to City Hall – Grover Robinson takes office as Mayor of Pensacola later this month. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports the transition begins (Friday).
After defeating challenger Brian Spencer 56-44 percent Tuesday night, the outgoing Escambia County Commissioner is looking ahead to his November 27 inauguration and beyond. First up is a meeting with Mayor Ashton Hayward, who’s stepping down after two terms.
“We’ve got a meeting at City Hall, looking forward to that; I’m meeting with [Hayward] and beginning that process,” said Robinson. “Each one of the directors, we’ve got sort of a list of where they are and what’s going on, so we know where everything is with the city.”
With his inauguration less than three weeks away, Robinson says the preparations have to be on a fast track.
“It is kind of like drinking out of a fire hydrant right now; we’re just trying to wrap our head around it,” Robinson said. “All that stuff we want to get moving and come in there and hit the ground running.”
Robinson takes the oath of office at high noon on the 27th. After that, most of the transition will continue for the next few weeks.
“Probably most of December we’ll still just be trying to learn everything and meet with each department to see what’s going on with them; talk to them about how we can deliver services better and begin that process,” said Robinson. “That’s most of what we’re going to get done through December – sort of evaluate and begin to figure out where we want to go.”
Come the New Year, the Robinson administration is expected to shift into a higher gear.
“Once we get into January, we’ll be much more aligned in understanding what we need to do coming out of the holidays,” said Robinson. “At that point, we want to start going out and meeting in the neighborhoods and doing some of the things we talked about – work days, services, and how that’s working.”
Since 2010, Robinson has been the face of recovery from the oil spill hitting Escambia County from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. His term as chairman of the Florida Gulf Consortium is set to expire in January.
“It sort of works well for the Consortium too; it’s not like they would lose their chairman in the middle of the year,” said Robinson. “They will be deciding a new chairman in January anyway. So I will continue to represent [Escambia] County through the changeover, and continue to remain as chairman of the Consortium.
“I was ready to step away, but members of the Consortium wanted me to stay through the term.”
Robinson said his time leading the consortium will provide the experience and contacts which can help bring in state and federal monies for projects around the city.
“I need to start getting fully focused on the job we’re going to be doing over there at the city, so it will kind of working itself out,” Robinson said. “So I’ll be tying one up as I’m starting another one.”
Grover Robinson emerged from what began as a six-player race to reach the seventh floor of City hall in the most expensive mayoral race in Pensacola’s 320-year history as a city. He and challenger Brian Spencer spending a combined $437,000 dollars for a job that pays $100,000 per year.