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Rusty Wells

Rusty Wells

Pensacola mayor Ashton Hayward will reassign attorney William “Rusty” Wells from his role assisting the city council to “other matters” effective January 1.

City Administrator Eric Olson informed council members of the mayor’s decision in a memorandum sent yesterday.

Though a mayoral employee, Wells has been assigned to serve as a “Council Liaison” since June 2014, when Hayward fired then-Council Executive Lila Cox. Later that month, council members voted to place a city charter amendment on the ballot which would allow the council to hire and fire its own staff. Voters narrowly approved that amendment last November, and council members made their first hire — new Council Executive Donald Kraher — in August.

Prior to Kraher’s arrival last month, Wells served as the council’s de facto executive, assisting with the preparation of meeting agendas and the day-to-day administration of city council business.

Reached Tuesday, city spokesman Vernon Stewart confirmed that Wells would remain a city employee and would be reassigned to the mayor’s office in a role “assisting the City Administrator,” noting that “specifics are yet to be determined.”

Two other mayoral employees currently assigned to the city council — assistants Elaine Mager and Sonja Gaines — are expected to transition to city council employees.

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