Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May said this afternoon that he supports Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward’s decision to name Bentina Terry as the city representative to the county’s RESTORE Act advisory committee—the commissioner has also named the Gulf Power executive as his committee pick.
“I fully support it,” said May, who had discussed the Terry-option with Hayward previously. “I don’t in any way feel shafted by the mayor.”
The commissioner, who is responsible for selecting someone to sit in the RESTORE committee’s citizen at-large seat, selected Terry earlier this month. He said he will go back to his “long list” of other potential candidates if his current pick becomes the city representative.
“I’m going to be looking at other people once Bentina is ratified,” May said.
Hayward has called a special council meeting for tomorrow morning in order for the Pensacola City Council to approve or reject his second pick for the city’s RESTORE seat. The county has stipulated a Jan. 31 deadline for the mayoral selection and council ratification.
The mayor previously nominated David Penzone for the seat. That nominee was rejected after members of council raised concerns about his employment status with the city, his residency, the lack of public input and the process in general.
May referred to Terry—who is vice president of external affairs and corporate services with Gulf Power—as “one of the most qualified people in this town” and also as “someone that can bridge the gap.” He suggested her nomination might accommodate “some healing” in the city.
“I hope that the city council sees the benefit of somebody like Bentina Terry,” the commissioner said.
If Terry is approved by the city council, May said he will focus on selecting another candidate for his citizen at-large seat with experience in both economic and social arenas. He said he will select someone “who understands all aspects of this community.”
“There’s so many qualified applicants out there,” May said, stressing that “diversity and inclusion are critical to me.”
Tomorrow’s special council meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Pensacola City Hall.