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Thursday July 31st 2014

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Touart protest is not going away

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