Hawkins repays Century for tickets
Mayor says he won't reveal names of people who received airline tickets due to economic development confidentiality
April 4, 2019
At Monday night's meeting, Century Mayor Henry Hawkins gave each council member a copy of a letter and check issued to the Town of Century in the amount of $1,751.70, a repayment of money he spent for potential economic development in October 2018.
At an earlier council meeting, Councilwoman Ann Brooks had questioned several charges on the town's bill list made on Oct. 23, including Expedia charges for $107.58 and $560.92, a Frontier airfare of $214.90, a Delta air charge of $366.90, and an America Air of $501. 40, totaling $1,751.70 that Hawkins said Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry had approved for economic development in the town.
The statement read, "The Town of Century will never move forward as long as we're stuck on what's not being done with others' approval. I am repaying the town for airline tickets and hotel fees for two gentlemen that I brought to the town to discuss economic development. This is not an admission of guilt but a gesture of good faith in moving Century forward. It seems there are those who do not want our town to prosper. We groan when businesses come into the town and our citizens are given a chance for better paying jobs. When we don't strive for economic development then we all lose."
The statement was accompanied by a photocopy of an official check purchased by Hawkins on Pen Air Federal Credit Union made payable to the Town of Century with 'Henry Hawkins Airline Tickets' in the memo line.
Although copies of the airline tickets were available upon public record request, the persons' names on the tickets had been redacted.
Mayor Hawkins said he has no plans to reveal the names of the people who received the airline tickets from the town due to a confidentiality agreement.
Hawkins said the tickets were for people interested in bringing business and jobs to Century.
"They wanted to stay secretive," Hawkins said. "They wanted to come in and look at things."
Hawkins also said infighting with the council has caused problems in moving Century forward.
"We hurt ourselves when we started bickering," Hawkins said. "They are doing it purposely because they don't want things to come to town."
Hawkins said the people who came to look at Century are still looking.
"I didn't do anything wrong," he said. "But I felt I needed to pay the money back. It wasn't the money, it was the right thing to do."