Ethics Panel Recommends $3,000 Fine, Reprimand For Former Century Mayor

January 31, 2009

The state ethics commission has found former Mayor Evelyn Hammond misused her position, and they have recommended that she be ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

The recommendation made by the Florida Commission on Ethics also calls for Hammond to receive a public censure and reprimand.

Hammond used her position to retaliate against Century Little League and its president, Dabney Longhorne, when that organization failed to hire her son as chief umpire,  according to the ethics commission findings.

The administrative law judge that heard the case recommended that Hammond receive just a public censure. The advocate for the complainants recommended that she be slapped with a $7,000 civil penalty in addition to the public censure and reprimand. Hammond objected to any civil penalty at all, arguing that by being branded “corrupt” her name would be ruined, ant that itself was more devastating than any monetary fine.

After a review of the complete record, the ethics commission recommended an increase in the punishment suggested by the by the administrative law  judge that heard the case because Hammond’s “violation of the Code of Ethics is a serious violation that not only affected Century Little League, but also affected the community.”

According to the ethics commission, Hammond “withheld her true retaliatory motivations at Town County meetings when recommending that the town take over the Century Little League concession stand and her inconsistent statements in that regard have been taken into account in recommending an increase in the recommended punishment”.

Hammond’s “sole motivation was revenge,” the ethics commission findings report states.

Last year, the ethics commission found probable cause to believe that Hammond, during her term as mayor of the Town of Century, misused her office by allowing her son to continue to receive utility services when his account was delinquent or by directing that late fees be dropped from his account.

The commission also found probable cause to believe that she misused her position to retaliate against Century Little League for her son’s special benefit. Charges that she misused her office to give a raise to her son and charges that she promoted, advanced, or advocated the promotion or advancement of her relatives were dismissed.

The ethics complaint alleged that Hammond’s son, Eddie Hammond, did not pay his utility bills for four years while working as a supervisor for the town’s utilities department. The complaint charged that when the bills were found, Evelyn Hammond waived $200 in late charges and fines and paid the remaining $1,700.

The ethic’s complaint also charges that Hammond took over concessions at the Little League Park concession stand and hired someone from Alabama to run it. The concessions stand had previous raised funds for the Little League ball teams.

A complaint had also been filed that Hammond used her position has mayor to obtain a raise for her son, but the ethics commission did not find probable cause in that case.

The ethics complaints were filed by Ann Brooks, Nolan Wilson and Annie Savage.

Hammond was defeated 341 votes to 241 votes in her bid for re-election by now Mayor Freddie McCall. The race received a lot of media attention after Hammond alleged that McCall and new council member Nadine McCaw attempted to buy votes with money and watermelons, allegations that they both denied.

For a complete in-depth look at the ethics complaints against Hammond, click here.

In Depth: The Ethics Complaints Against Evelyn Hammond

January 31, 2009

Former Century Mayor Evelyn Hammond used her position to retaliate against Century Little League when that organization failed to hire her son as chief umpire,  according to the Florida Commission on Ethics.

An administrative law judge also found that Hammond did not use her position to benefit her son, Eddie Hammond, in regard to his utility account.

For a complete story on the ethics commission recommendation, click here.

Here is a more in-depth look at the complaints there filed with the ethics commission by Ann Brooks, Nolan Wilson and Annie Savage.

The Little League

Century Little League was controlled by a board of directors during the time in question in the complaint against Hammond. Dabney Longhorne served as president of that board from 2001 to 2006. During that five year period, Century Little League operated the concession stand at the town-owned Showalter Park.

Longhorne met with Mayor Hammond in January 2004 and again in January 2005 to discuss generally the relationship between the town and the little league operation. To the extent the concession stand was discussed during these meetings, it was expected that the little league operation would run it and use the profits generated from it.

For a number of years prior to the 2006 season, Mayor Hammond’s son Eddie Hammond moonlighted as chief umpire of the Century Little League. He was paid $35.00 to $45.00 for each game and was paid from $2.00 to $4.50 as a booking fee for each umpire he arranged for the little league games. One of the umpires Eddie Hammond employed was his father, Ray Hammond.

In January 2006 while planning for the upcoming season, Mr. Langhorne and Eddie Hammond had a discussion. During that discussion Eddie Hammond suggested he could make more money umpiring elsewhere. He advised he could make more money umpiring in Brewton, Alabama, for example.

At the Century Little League Board meeting on Saturday, January 21, 2006, Eddie Hammond’s comments were relayed to the board. The board thereafter voted to hire someone else as chief umpire. When Eddie Hammond learned of this he became angry, according to the judge’s order.

These events were discussed in the Hammond household. On Tuesday, January 24, 2006, Eddie Hammond called Langhorne on his cellphone and expressed his anger and, moreover, suggested that retaliation was in the offing. Later that day, Ray Hammond, Eddie Hammond’s father, called Langhorne and left a message asking that his call be returned.

On February 6, 2006, Mayor Hammond, during the Century Town Council meeting, recommended that the town take over the concession stand at Showalter Park. She stated that she had already found someone to operate it and that the profits from it would help pay for the light bill at the park. She also made this recommendation because she was angry at Dabney Langhorne. She did not, however, reveal this to the Century Town Council.

No one from Century Little League had been informed that this action would be considered by the council, so no one spoke out against the recommendation. On a motion by councilmember Marie McMurray, the council unanimously approved Mayor Hammond’s recommendatin.

“It is concluded that her actions were motivated solely by a desire to avenge the failure of Century Little League to re-employ her son,” Hooper wrote in the court order.

The Utility Bills

As mayor, Hammond exercised authority over the town’s utility services, including gas, water and sewer services. Her son, Eddie Hammond, served as superintendent of the utility department during her term as mayor, a position he had held for about 20 years. Dorothy Sims, the mayor’s first cousin, served as Town Clerk and as immediate supervisor for Eddie Hammond.

Century’s utility bills are due on the tenth of each month, with a $5 late charge added on the fifteenth of the month and service can be disconnected on the twentieth ofthe month. But Sims would routinely mark some unpaid accounts to not be disconnected.

The judge’s order says Eddie Hammond and Robert Tims did not pay their utility bills for years, yet their accounts were marked with a “hold.” Eddie Hammond amassed a bill of $1,802.49 by October 2005 and Robert Tims grew his to $4,859.46 by October 2005, yet neither had their utility services terminated. “Nevertheless, Eddie Hammond did not hesitate to pull the plug on citizens in a less fortunate posture,” the order states.

Eddie Hammond and Robert Tims were long-time employees of Century. During the period 1969 to 2001, Ray Lawson was Town Clerk, and during his incumbency he permitted some town employees to pay their utilities through payroll deductions. Eddie Hammond and Robert Tims were beneficiaries of this plan.

Rather than have their utility bills deducted from their pay in an amount that reflected their actual bills, Town Clerk Lawson deducted a set amount each week. In the case of
Eddie Hammond, $20.00 was deducted each week. Eddie Hammond was never presented with a utility bill during this period. Robert Tims had $35.00 deducted each week.

The sum deducted was often insufficient to cover the cost of Eddie Hammond’s utility bill and by the time Town Clerk Lawson departed the position, Eddie Hammond owed several hundred dollars.

The mayor of Century from 2000-2004 was Bennie Barnes. In 2001, Town Clerk Lawson was replaced by Town Clerk Sims. Although it was easy to determine how much money Eddie Hammond and Robert Tims owed on their utility bills, Ms. Sims was unable to determine how much money had been withheld from their pay.

When Town Clerk Sims became the incumbent, she found the financial records of the town to be a “big mess,” and they remained that way for several years. The “mess” was created when Town Clerk Lawson left because he had bad feelings toward Mayor Barnes and the City Council and manifested these feelings by locking his computer and scrambling the town’s financial records.

Town Clerk Sims could not determine how much, if any, payroll had been applied to the utility bills of the two, and Hammond and Tims did not know either. They were the only two employees of Century in this position. Eddie Hammond was aware that some of the money deducted was paid as child support. The last payment made to his utility bill was July 9, 2001. By October 4, 2001, deductions from his paycheck had been discontinued. Mr. Tims’ deduction continued.

By 2004, following Mayor Hammond’s inauguration as mayor, Town Clerk Sims continued to have over-all responsibility as supervisor of utility services and continued carrying Tims and Eddie Hammond in the “hold” category.

The office procedure with regard to utility payments was that each month a printed list of delinquents was prepared by Assistant Clerk Kristina Wood. She gave the list directly to Town Clerk Sims who determined if a delinquent was to be awarded a “hold.” Mayor Hammond did not get involved in the decision to terminate or not terminate anyone’s utility services.

Mayor Hammond paid some of Eddie Hammond’s bills, other than his utility bills, because Mayor Hammond and Eddie Hammond did not want his former wives to get involved in his financial affairs. Mayor Hammond never saw Eddie Hammond’s utility bill and assumed that, because he worked for the city, he paid it at his job. She was aware that he had money taken from his paycheck because she had seen some of his pay stubs.

Eventually Mayor Hammond learned that Tims and Eddie Hammond were on the cut-off list and made inquiry to Town Clerk Sims. Mayor Hammond was informed about the payroll deductions yy Town Clerk Sims, who told her that the money to pay the charges was present, but that she could not determine how much money was available. As events unfolded, records were discovered indicating the amounts withheld from Tims and Eddie Hammond, but this occurred after Mayor Hammond paid Eddie Hammond’s bill.

In early 2006, some citizens took notice of the unseemly situation where Eddie Hammond, the person who routinely cut off peoples’ natural gas for failure to timely pay their utility bills, was himself avoiding his utility payment. His failure to pay was about to provide grist for the local journalist’s mill. Mayor Hammond soon learned that the local
media was about to publicize the situation.

That moment was when Mayor Hammond concluded that paying her son’s utility bill was “. . . the right thing to do.” Accordingly, she wrote a personal check for the amount of the bill, including late charges. This amount was $1,984.30. On March 21, 2006, she took the check to the clerk’s office and met with Assistant Clerk Christina Wood. Eddie Hammond was present.

Wood had a discussion with Mayor Hammond regarding the late charges. She had removed the late charges when Tims paid off his utility bill some time before March 2006 and she informed Mayor Hammond of this. Mayor Hammond told Assistant Clerk Wood to take the late charges off Eddie Hammond’s bill since they were removed from Tims’ bill. She believed her son should get the same consideration. Assistant Clerk Wood did as directed by pulling up Eddie Hammond’s account on the computer and deducting $245.00.

Mayor Hammond further asserted that the town continued to owe Eddie Hammond money from the deductions taken from his pay. She wrote a new check for $1,739.30 and gave it to Assistant Clerk Wood, and thereafter the account displayed a zero balance.

The greater weight of the evidence demonstrates, the judge’s order says, that Mayor Hammond believed that the town owed Eddie Hammond some amount of money, and at the time the transaction took place it is clear that Century’s accounts were in disarray to the extent it was difficult to determine what, if anything, the town owed Eddie Hammond. Her determination that her son should not pay late fees because a similarly situated employee did not pay late fees was not unreasonable.

The “policy” of allowing Eddie Hammond to avoid paying his utility bills was in place prior to Mayor Hammond’s election and continued without her intervention until the Spring of 2006. She did not intervene in the case of Robert Tims or others who were not keeping up with their utility bills either. Even though she had 28 years of utility billing experience, she was remarkably incurious with regard to the situation in the Town of Century. This is not, however, the same as wrong-doing, the judge’s order says.

Area Ball Registrations

January 31, 2009

It’s that time of the year again…ball registration is scheduled in Century, Molino and Walnut Hill.

ballreg10.jpgRegistration will be held  each Saturday for the Molino Recreation Association at Don Sutton park in Molino. Registration will continue each Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. through February 23. The annual draft will be February 28.

Registration fees have been reduced this year due to the economy. This year, registration fees are $50 for the first child, $45 for the second, $40 for the third and free for additional players from the same family. A birth certificate copy is required to be on file for each child.

Teams for the Molino Recreation Association will include:

  • Wee Ball –ages 3 & 4
  • Tee Ball — ages 5, 6 & 7
  • Baseball — ages 8 to 15
  • Girls Softball — ages 8 to 16

If you would like to coach or just help out on your child’s team, you can sign up on the day your child is registered. For more information, call 587-4090.

Registration for Northwest Escambia Little League baseball begins Saturday, February 7 and continues each Saturday until February 21 from 10 a.m. until noon at Bradberry Park in Walnut Hill.

The cost is $35 for the first child from a family, $25 for the second child and free for each additional child. A copy of each child’s birth certificate is required for registration.

This year, NWE will offer Wee Ball for children ages 3 and 4 on the brand new “Drew’s Field”

For more information, call 327-6722 or 327-6155 after five p.m.

Century Little League will hold a board meeting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 31 at Showalter Park. The meeting is open to the public.

Ball registration will held again on Saturday, January 31 and Saturday, February 7 from noon until at Showalter Park.

Registration fees have been lowered this year for $30 for the first child and $20 for each additional child. A copy of each child’s birth certificate is requested. The following teams will be formed:

  • Pre-T — 3 & 4
  • Tee Ball — 5 to 7 boys and  5 to 8  girls
  • Minor League Baseball  — 8 to 10 y
  • Machine-Pitch Minor League — 8 to 10
  • Girls Minor League Softball  — 9 to 10
  • Boys Major League Baseball  — 11 to 12
  • Girls Major League Softball  — 11 to 12

Ages are determined according to the child’s age on May 1, 2009. is looking for people to help us with stats and photos from NWE, Century and Molino play this year. If you are interested, use our contact form to let us know. file photo.

Phony Cop Sketch Released

January 31, 2009


The Escambia County Sheriff’s Department has released a composite sketch of a phony cop that has been targeting young women.

He has been described as a white male in his 20’s or early 30’s. He is reportedly has dark bushy hair, a stocky build and is bout 6′2″ tall. He has a mole under his left eye.

The sketch was based upon information provided by a young female was sexually assaulted by the suspect Tuesday night near I-110 and Brent Lane in Pensacola. The suspect was wearing some type of uniform with no name tag and a belt, according to reports, at the time of that assault. He was driving a white Ford Crown Victoria with a spotlight. He may have had the word “Sheriff” in green letters on the side of the car. Tuesday’s victim said he had a New England type accent.

On January 20, a young female was stopped a phony cop, possibly the same man, near Nine Mile Road and Beulah Road. She was not injured. A young University of West Florida student reported a man in a white sedan flashed blue lights at her on University Parkway last Saturday night.

If you have further information about this phony cop, call the Sheriff’s Office at 436-9630 or Crime Stoppers at 433-7867.

Pictured above: A sketch of a phony cop suspect that appears to be targeting women in Escambia County. The sketch was released Friday night by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department.

Yard Sale Today Will Benefit Drew’s Field, NWE Wee Ball

January 31, 2009

A yard sale will be held this morning to benefit Drew’s Field.Proceeds from the yard sale will benefit Drew’s Field at the Northwest Escambia Little League’s  Bradberry Park.

The field will allow NWE to offer Wee Ball for three and four year olds for the first time ever. It is named in memory of Drew Marlow who was killed along with his father Danny Marlow in early 2008.

The yard sale begins at 7:00 this morning at the former daycare on Highway 97 at the Alabama-Florida line.

Fire Weather Warning Today, Rain By Sunday Night

January 31, 2009


A fire weather warning remains in effect for your Saturday…meaning no outdoor burning.

The National Weather Service office in Mobile has issued a Fire Weather Warning for Saturday afternoon. Today’s humidity look to range from 25 to 30 percent for the afternoon. That low humidity will creative explosive fire growth potential.

Today’s high is forecast to be 62 under sunny skies. Tonight will be clear and cold, with a low dipping to the upper 20’s. Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high of 62.

A 50 percent chance of rain creeps into the forecast by Sunday night and Monday with a low of 45 and a high of 58.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be colder, with highs of 50 and lows of 25.

Pictured above: A firefighter from the Walnut Hill station of Escambia Fire-Rescue works to contain a brush fire Friday afternoon on Arthur Brown Road just west of Pine Forest Road Friday afternoon. The fire was the result of an over 100 acre control burn conducted in the area earlier in the day. The fire had burned beyond its intended boundaries. photo, click to enlarge.

Byrneville Elementary Students Star In A Glamorous Photo Shoot

January 31, 2009


The students at Byrneville Elementary School got the star treatment Friday as they dressed up for glamour shot photo sessions in preparation for a big event Tuesday night. Hollywood will come to the school as the red carpet will be rolled out, a movie will hit the big screen and parents will learn about making their student a star. will have a complete story and a photo gallery with dozens of glamour shots Monday morning.

Pictured above:  Byrneville student Chloe Smith gets treated like a star during a glamour shot photo session Friday morning. photo, click to enlarge.

Rough Night On The Court For Northview Boys And Girls

January 31, 2009

Friday night was not kind to the varsity boys and girls basketball teams from Northview.

The Northview boys lost to Jay, 75-50.

The Northview girls ended their regular season with a loss to East Hill, 53-43.

The Northview varsity boys have two regular games to go this season –  Tuesday at home against Escambia Charter and Thursday on the road at Baker.

Jay 75, Northview 50 (boys)

Northview—Lance Bushaw 18, Jody Levins 12,Aaron Bellamy 7, Colton Sims 4,  Luke Killiam 4, LaDarion White 4, Dabney Langhorne 2,  Jocqus Lett 2.

Jay — Dale Barlow 10, Hunter Boutwell 12, Rush Hendricks 5, Bugg Fischer 2, Steven Brabham 1, Luke Rowell 4, Greg Nelson 41.

Northview 14 14 9 16—50

Jay 23 8 19 25—75

East Hill 53, Northview 43 (girls)

Northview — Gabe Wesley 14, Shaniqua Jones 11, Laneicia Gomez 10,  Shakeria White 4,  Angela Roddriguez 4.

NV 9 8 12 14—43

EHS 10 16 7 20—53

Reported Vehicle Fire In Century

January 30, 2009

The Century station of Escambia Fire-Rescue was dispatched to a reported vehicle fire on North Century Boulevard about 9:30 Friday morning.

An 18-wheel truck was reported to be on fire with smoke coming from under the hood. It was in the median on North Century Boulevard near Hecker Road.

The first fire units on the scene reported that there was no fire. The smoke was apparently caused by a broken belt under the hood.

The truck was hauling stadium seats.

Highway 4 Crash Injures One

January 30, 2009


One person was injured in a two vehicle accident Friday morning on Highway 4 near Highway 97.

pbchurch10.jpgThe accident, which involved a car and a pickup truck, happened about 7:30 Friday morning at the intersection of Pine Barren Church Road and Highway 4 in Davisville. The female driver of a car was transported from the scene by ambulance. The driver and passenger of a pickup truck were not injured.

The car driver’s injuries were not believed to be extremely serious.

The accident is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Walnut Hill station of Escambia Fire-Rescue and Atmore Ambulance responded to the call.

Pictured above: The driver of this car was injured in a two vehicle accident on Highway 4 near Highway 97 Friday morning. Pictured inset: The pickup truck involved in the crash. photos, click to enlarge.

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