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Monday September 22nd 2014

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County Administrator position has rocky past

Escambia County administrators have a short career span with the county. On average they serve less than three years, so it’s no surprise that Randy Oliver finds himself on the chopping block with a year left on his contract. What is surprising is that it may be the last act of this current Board of County Commissioners before two new commissioners come on board in November.

The commissioner driving this train is Kevin White, whose last meeting will most likely be Thursday, Oct. 18. He has been an Oliver supporter for the last two years. However, commission alliances have been known to change. White has applied for jobs with the county and was rumored to be Buck Lee’s replacement at the Santa Rosa Island Authority if Lee was elected the Santa Rosa Supervisor of Elections (Lee lost the GOP primary in August). A new county administrator might be more receptive to hiring White—but that seems to be stretch since White won’t be part of hiring the new full-time administrator.

Commissioner Wilson Robertson has not been an Oliver fan, and he is expected to be elected in November to what he has called his final term. Politically he has nothing to lose voting against Oliver on Thursday. However, Commissioner Gene Valentino is known to have political aspirations beyond county government. A messy vote on the county administrator could have negative ramifications for his political career, if it’s seen as a backroom deal.

This will be the best political show in town for the next couple of days.

List of County Administrators:

Joe Mooney
Jan. 7, 1977 – May 18, 1978
(1 year, 4 months)

Fred Hubacker (Acting)
May 19, 1978 – Oct. 22, 1978
(5 months)

Rodney L. Kendig
Oct. 23, 1978 – Nov. 16, 1984
(6 years)

Chuck Bates (Acting)
Nov. 17, 1984 – April 21, 1985
(5 months)

August V. Ellis
April 22, 1985 – June 3, 1988
(3 years, 1 month)

J. Wayne Peacock
(Acting, then appointed permanently)
May 24, 1988 – Dec. 31, 1991
(3 years, 7 months)

Robert W. Koncar
Jan. 1, 1992 – March 31, 1994
(2 years, 3 months)

John F. Asmar (Acting)
April 1, 1994 – April 30, 1994
(29 days)

Barry R. Evans
May 1, 1994 – April 11, 2000
(5 years, 11 months)

Thomas L. Forrest
(Interim, then appointed permanently) April 28, 2000 – Dec. 3, 2001
(1 year, 8 months)

Robert T. Halfhill (Interim)
Dec. 4, 2001 – April 21, 2002
(1 year, 4 months)

George Touart
April 22, 2002 – Sept. 6, 2007
(5 years, 4 months)

Robert W. McLaughlin (Interim/then full-time)
Sept. 7, 2007 – Dec. 17, 2009
(2 years, 3 months)

Larry Newsome (Interim)
Dec. 18, 2009 – Oct. 31, 2010
(10 months)

Randy Oliver
Nov. 1, 2010 – present
Contract ends Oct. 31, 2013

Longest Tenure: Rodney L. Kendig, 6 years
Longest Serving Interim: Robert T. Halfhill at 1 year, 4 months