Escambia County Politics

Touart protest is not going away

December 5, 2012

Some citizens still aren’t happy about the lame duck Escambia County Commission hiring George Touart as the interim county administrator. They plan further protests. I got the following email this morning:

A group of people against the hiring of George Touart is planning to attend the Thursday, December 6th, (tomorrow) Public Forum, at 4:30 pm, to speak out against the Touart hire again.

It had been put on the agenda for the regular meeting via Written Communication form by me but the acting Administrator, Larry Newsom, informed me that, upon review, he was taking the item off of the regular agenda and that I would only be able to address the commissioners at the Public Forum. If the commissioners wanted to continue the discussion into the regular meeting, it would be their decision.

Well, of course, they all hope that we will just go away and they can “move forward” with “important” business. But we still think this is an important issue!

The administrator is the person that is running the whole county and has the responsibility of a large budget. If we don’t have confidence in him (based on past performance!) we will never move forward as a county.

The problem that I have also with being relegated to the Public Forum is that it is at a time when most people are still at work and the County doesn’t archive the video (I am not even sure if they even record or broadcast it?!) So effectively, the commissioners can keep this issue from being discussed outside of the bounds of the limited attendance at the Public Forum.

A group of people have formed at Citizens Against Touart As Administrator on FB and there are others that have communicated their protest that are not part of this group. As many as possible will be there tomorrow at 4:30 pm.

I will ask the commissioners to continue the discussion into the regular 5:30 pm meeting, so that our opposition can be fully heard. I hope that others will show up if they are against this hire and the way it was done.

The commissioners have been silent to the media, besides blasting them for daring to question their actions, and have yet to explain why they think that the expenditure of public funds for Mr. Touart’s salary was necessary when we had an acting Administrator, Larry Newsom, who was more familiar with county operations.

They have told their constituents that they have “private” reasons. That is totally unacceptable, in my opinion.

They are counting on the public scrutiny to go away, as it usually does. We have to show them that we are still angry about this.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jacqueline Rogers

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  • jeeperman December 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    And “personal” is, I guess, code for…………………
    Since those “personal” reasons have not been disclosed, we can only speculate, right ?

  • Ames December 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    But but but, Jerperman…it’s PERSONAL.

  • jeeperman December 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    The BOCC as a whole refuses to validate why they re-hired Touart.
    The BOCC refuses to try and convince the public for the action.
    The BOCC has made such a huge about-face in their support of Touart it makes you wonder what dirt Touart has in his pockets on the members of the BOCC.

  • EPenn December 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Write your County Commissioners and ask for a revote. Touart is this Board’s Administrator and not the last Board’s…

  • joe December 5, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Would the real Wilson robertson pls explain why he pushed for the Forest gibbs apptment, why he didn’t resign when he sad the day I can’t I can’t be a referral for county employees is the day I should no longer be a commissioner, yet he ran for re-election? And further give us some idea of whether as a business person if he has ever personally paid for exit plans similar to what Mr. Oliver received when he and , “haven’t made more than 20grand a year in my profession, Kevin white” railroaded Mr. oliver out of office? If it is the real W. Roberstson, tell us who has done the typing for you to respond on this blog.
    You sir are what is wrong with Escambia county.

  • joe December 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    CJ Lewis: George Touart..his father says its pronounced “twa” is the definition of malfeasance and you are wondering why he may participate in it? You have got to be kidding.

  • CJ Lewis December 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Millard Adams writes, “George Tourat was an effective administrator.” Whether true or not, the fact remains that he resigned. That was his decision. Fast forward several new County Administrators and we have Randy Oliver who by all accounts was doing a great job. Three Commissioners did a hatchet job on Oliver to clear the way for bringing back Tourat to right a supposed wrong. If this was a test of character, Commissioner Robertson, Valentino and White all failed, miserably. Tourat should have refused to be a party to this misfeasance.

    With respect to Commisioner Robertson’s linguistic word games here on Rick’s Blog, the County Administrator and County Attorney are “appointed.” Subsection (1) of Florida Statute ยง125.73 prescribing the procedures for the appointment, qualifications and compensation of a County Administrator reads in full, “Each county to which this part applies shall appoint a county administrator, who shall be the administrative head of the county for the administration of all departments of the county government which the board of county commissions has authority to control pursuant to this act, the general laws of Florida, or other applicable legislation.”

    Has anyone noticed that Santa Rosa County is going ganbsusters while Escambia County is stuck/stinking in the political muck? One variable is the manner in which each county elects its County Commissioners. In Santa Rosa County, they elect their Commissioners “at-large” with a district residency requirement. Every Santa Rosa County voter has a voice in the election of every County Commissioner. That’s the way it’s done in most of the state. Bob Cole once told me that he had to be mindful of the voters from Jay to Navarre.

    In Escambia County, we elect our Commissioners by single-member districts. They act like little Princes each ruling over one fifth of the county kingdom. Grover Robinson is the only one who takes a county-wide view. Does anyone know if the court order from the McMillan v. Escambia County Voting Rights Act lawsuit is still in effect? If not, we should go back to electing Escambia County Commissioners at-large and from non-gerrymandered districts too.

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