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Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Evaluations give an inside view of Escambia County government


When they completed the County Administrator Evaluation forms, I know it wasn’t the intent of the Escambia County Commission to give us a peek into how they function, but that is exactly what they have done.

Supervision:
Board chairman Wilson Robertson says he has not knowledge of how County Administrator Randy Oliver supervises department heads. Vice chairman Gene Valentino says department heads have complained that they feel isolated and have lost respect for Oliver. Kevin White complained that there has been less communication between department heads and commissioners and that he believes that is a directive from Oliver. Grover Robinson praised Oliver for providing a standard and direction. Marie Young simply gave him a 5.

Robertson knows nothing. Valention knows everything. White misses direct line with department head. Robertson and Young think it’s working as it should. Five bosses- four different views.

Leadership:
White, Robinson and Young give Oliver -3, 4 and 5 respectively. Not bad. Robertson only says Oliver has high ethics and knows nothing else. Valentino says Oliver doesn’t inspire others to succeed and doesn’t know if Oliver promotes efficiency. He believes that Oliver has been unethical and insubordinate. Four don’t have a problem in this area, one has a huge problem with leadership.


Execution of Policy:

White, Robinson and Young give Oliver -3, 4 and 5 respectively. Again not bad. Board chair Robertson has no knowledge. Valentino complains that the policies that Oliver promotes are his, not the commissioners.

Community Relations:
Grover Robinson believes Oliver can improve his interaction with citizens. White complains that Oliver hasn’t followed up with citizens at his direction. Valentino says that the feedback that he has received is that Oliver is arrogant and rude. Robertson says employees handle the day to day.

Administrative Duties:
Wilson Robertson doesn’t believe Oliver handles these duties well with the commissioners. White agrees saying that he hasn’t kept the board properly informed. Valentino says the commissioners are only informed after the fact. Robinson disagrees saying that Oliver is good in this area.

Robertson, White and Valentino want to be more informed in how Oliver is handling the administration. Grover and Marie are fine.


Economic Development:

Robinson praises Oliver for understanding this area. Valentino says while Oliver understands the shortcomings of existing economic development structure (Chamber?), he wants Oliver to try to transition to a better structure (Remember Gene’s Economic Development Authority?). White believes that there has been a lack of communication with the development community. Wilson just says not enough has been done.

Valentino wants Oliver to push his EDA. White wants more communication with developers and Wilson simply wants more.

Intergovernmental Relations:
Wilson gives Oliver a “fairly well.” Grover thinks Oliver can work more on this, but still gives him a 3.5. White says other communities have complained about lack of communication. Valentino says Oliver has no relationship with other communities.

So it’s none, some, could be better, fairly well and excellent—which is it?

County-City Relations:
Valentino writes that Oliver meets with all of them every week—which seems to contradict earlier complaints about lack of communication. Robinson says he does a good job of communicating, but could improve. White gave Oliver a 3 in this area, saying Oliver meets weekly with him, too. Only Robertson was negative with “Not well enough.”

Four appear to believe Oliver meets or exceeds expectations in this area. One does not. Hmmmm.

Planning:
Grover and Marie give Oliver 5′s. White gives a 3 but says the rewrite of the Long Range Comp Plan hasn’t been handled properly. Valentino concedes Oliver is a good strategist but his plan on any given issue precedes that of the commission from a policy point of view. Robertson simply says “No.”

Two 5′s and a Three. One wants more input. The other wants something else, but we don’t know what.

Financial Management
All appear to agree that Oliver does well in this category, even Kevin White gave him a 4.

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Outgoing Commissioner Marie Young is happy with Randy Oliver, as is Grover Robertson, who has two more years in his term.

Gene Valentino wants more input in the administration and wants support from the county administrator for his economic development plans. He believes that Oliver has hurt his reputation.

Wilson Robertson still has to win re-election in November. While he is clearly upset with Oliver, Robertson is not going to put much in writing that could hurt him on Nov. 6.

Kevin White, who leaves office next month, has had an epiphany and now believes Oliver hasn’t done his job properly and hasn’t communicated well with the commissioners, department heads, developers and other communities.

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The best replacement for Randy Oliver may be a sock monkey.