Sunday, September 7, 2014

Kudos to Mayor Kriseman and the Team

Anthony Holloway New Police Chief

There is not enough paint in Pinellas County to color the spectacle of Rick Kriseman and his dream team anointing Antony Holloway St. Petersburg's new Police Chief a pretty picture.

After all those campaign and inaugural promises of transparency and listening to the people, a national search, interviews, Council briefings and a public show, Kriseman and his inner circle decide on their own who the new police chief will be.

Kriseman is right, it is the Mayor's prerogative to appoint the Chief, but why promise one thing and do the opposite?

Rick Kriseman Mayor
Did they have a plan? Well actually yes kind of.....

You can find it an article in the Weekly Challenger by Goliath Davis. St. Pete’s next police chief.

Notwithstanding the likely influence of former Chief Davis, Kriseman and his high paid inner circle screwed this up to a degree few can remember in St. Pete.

E-mailing the outside candidates, and calling in the local candidate 3 days before the proposed announcement to tell them they were not getting the job was serious lapse in judgment to say the least. They had to know there would be a leak and the media would go crazy.

And a side note to the Mayor, all of those police cars that drive by City Hall each day, they don't just look for homeless people.

In addition, it would appear that the Kriseman team has not learned in 6 months how porous the St. Pete City Government fabric really is. It is akin to sieve.

In the Baker administration, the staff would frequently find out what we were doing AT the press conference. It didn't take Baker long to learn there were few secrets or confidences kept at City Hall or anywhere else in the administration for that matter.

The political consultants, former and current candidates I have talked to are all shaking their heads.

Kevin King Chief of Staff
It is hard to tell who was the architect of the weekend disaster.

Kevin King, Kriseman's Chief of Staff, who views himself as political "operative", and Ben Kirby, Kriseman's long time communications expert and adviser, are likely at the center of the storm. 

King and Kirby have been parked at City Hall in high paying jobs most likely until the Mayors' next campaign. Neither has been particularly affective and this weekend is a glowing example.

Ben Kirby Communications Director
Several phone calls and texts to Kirby as things began to unravel on Saturday were responded to by a simple text, "No comment over the weekend."

The objective all along has been to keep Assistant Chief Melanie Bevan out of the Chief's office; because Bevan in the Chief's seat spells the end of the Coalition.

It's not that Bevan is too close to the union that is dumbest excuse on the planet, it's because Bevan is one of the very few people that scares the hell out of Goliath Davis.

If Kriseman was going to follow the Goliath Davis plan as outlined in the Challenger piece, he should have followed it completely, including the "go outside for another search" recommendation. Why worry about time now. It's already been 8 months.

Now the whole police chief thing is Kriseman's and his alone.  

The folks on the Pier Task Force should go into high alert because this is exactly what happened the last time. A lot of public effort was garnered then ignored by the administration.

In the Pier issue keep your eye on large campaign contributions. 

Kriseman has burned a lot of political capital in just a few days.

The administration looks inexperienced, disorganized and confused. And in fact they are.

Kriseman may finally be learning that old friends, political hacks and former campaign workers really don't know much about running a City.

Antony Holloway may be a great guy and an outstanding police chief, but my guess is he is here for all the wrong reasons and he has no idea of how alone he is going to be at 1300 1st Avenue North.

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