The Escambia County Commission Thursday moved forward in the search for a new administrator. That next step will be without Interim Administrator George Touart.
After more than 20 minutes discussion, Commissioner Steven Berry made the motion, which passed 3-2. Berry, along with Chairman Lumon May and Commissioner Grover Robinson voted for the measure; voting against were longtime Touart supporters Gene Valentino and Wilson Robertson.
Berry’s motion also asks Dallas-based Waters Consulting to work with the reconstituted citizen’s search committee in the run up to the Commission’s January 9th meeting.
Whether or not the Interim Administrator would be included with the other candidates became the most contentious issue before the vote. At one point the discussion turned to the possibility of firing Touart before a new administrator is named. Chairman Lumon May conceded that “fired” was a harsh word.
However, the notion of firing Touart did not get past the discussion stage. Commissioner Grover Robinson said that it’s time the county moved forward after more than year of conflict over the position.
There appears to be no change in the original schedule hammered out by the Commission and Waters Consulting. When the five finalists are named next month, the interviews will begin. February remains the target date to have the permanent administrator on the job.