Escambia County Commission

  Two Escambia County Commissioners, one new and one incumbent, were sworn into office Tuesday. The ceremony also included a change of leadership on the panel.

Outgoing Chairman Lumon May kicked off the special meeting by thanking everyone who has helped him out, during his year with the gavel.

“That have helped me to have a somewhat successful chairmanship,” said May. “Without you guys, without this great team, I would have failed.”

Escambia County officials are conducting public workshops through next month, on the future of the Local Option Sales Tax. The one-cent levy – set to expire in 2017 -- is on the November 4 ballot seeking renewal for another decade.

First approved by voters in 1992 LOST, as the tax is commonly known, raises in the neighborhood of $35 million to $40 million per year through retail sales. Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson says LOST allows for improvements in a number of what he calls “quality of life” areas.

Photo via Flickr//Andrew Bardwell

Meeting in committee, the Escambia County Commission voted 3-2 Tuesday to instruct staff to gather information on awarding a contract to build a facility to replace both the Central Booking Unit and the Main Jail.

The booking facility sustained major damage in the April 30th explosion, which killed two inmates and injured 184 other inmates and staff. Inmates are now being held at the main jail, a work camp in Cantonment, and at lockups in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties.

Alan Gray

The Pensacola City Council and Escambia County Commission hosted a stormwater symposium Friday morning, with both promising to cooperate on ways to control flooding. The session was held before a packed room at the Pensacola Bay Center.

Torrential rainfall in late April totaled 27 inches in the Pensacola area in a 24-hour period. The resultant flood caused massive damage to roadways – including four parts of Scenic Highway that were washed out. Flooding also swamped some businesses downtown.

Taylor County

On Friday, Jack Brown wrapped up his first week as Escambia County Administrator.

Brown comes to Escambia from the Administrator’s job in Taylor County. His contract is just for one year, as has been the recent custom, at a $150,000 annual salary plus benefits.

Just over a week after an explosion at the Escambia County Jail’s central booking facility, the building is back under county control as the investigation is continues.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office returned the jail to the County Commission on Thursday, after leading the investigation into the blast which killed two inmates and injured 184 others. The initial report did not raise any eyebrows.

After 18 months, $40,000 in search fees, two interims and one extra meeting, Escambia County finally has an administrator.

The Escambia County Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to offer the position to Taylor County Administrator Jack Brown, who was among the five finalists. He would succeed Randy Oliver, who was fired in September of 2012.

Since Oliver’s dismissal, the administrator post has been filled by the late George Touart, and then by Assistant Administrator Larry Newsome.

Escambia County

The Escambia County Commission Thursday once again pushed back a vote on the hiring of a new county administrator. The latest inaction comes after 18 months and spending $40,000 on the search process.

For the want of a chairman, the opportunity was lost. Lumon May was out of town and traveling back to Pensacola on Thursday. He did not make it back in time for the meeting, which kicked off at 5:30 p-m.

Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino may have violated Florida’s public records law, with personal emails sent to an advisor to the reality TV show “Party Down South.” The State Attorney’s Office is reviewing the allegation.

Escambia County Attorney Allison Rogers says it all began with a records request to her office from a Doug Underhill, who was opposed to “Party Down South” filming at Pensacola Beach.

Escambia County

After spending a year and a half and $40,000 on the search, the Escambia County Commission could vote to hire a new administrator Thursday evening.

The five finalists are: Albert Penska, John Weaver, Jack Brown, Ted Lakey, and former Pensacola City Administrator Bill Reynolds. Brown appears to be the favorite.

A sixth candidate, current Interim Administrator Larry Newsome, is being pushed by Commissioners Gene Valentino and Wilson Robertson.