Buzz: Gilley’s hatchet gone

Jana Still is no longer Escambia County’s Human Resources director. Still was one of former County Administrator Janice Gilley’s stranger hires. She had never worked in an HR department.

She  worked nearly seven years with the Mobile Personnel Board as a personnel classification and assessment specialist. When she came to Escambia County, Still was put in charge of labor negotiations and 1,527 employees. She  was one of Gilley’s youngest department heads.

Gilley told people that she had hired Still because she was a “real baller” – in other words, someone who would get rid of people for her. Similar to how City Administrator Eric Olson and COO Tamara Fountain used Edward Sisson, another unqualified HR director, at the City of Pensacola.

Gilley and Still have failed to get collective bargaining agreements with the ATU Local 1395 – ECAT and county workers. The county administrator appeared to have taken special delight in targeting older women, particularly women of color like Gwen McCormick, Marilyn Wesley and Tanya Green. In Still, Gilley appeared to find someone who would be her hatchet person.

Wesley and Green were let go by Gilley before Still’s arrival. Wesley began working at the county in 1988. Gilley fired her as Special Program Manager-Developer, Engineering & Planning Resources. Wesley was able to be named the Escambia County Human Relations Commission-Interim Director, a position she held until she died of COVID this past April.

Gilley forced Green out as director of Neighborhood Services in October 2019 after working 32 years for the county. Green was found dead in her home two months later.

 

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1 thought on “Buzz: Gilley’s hatchet gone

  1. Thank you for your take, Rick. People not familiar with how she was running things might think it was too candid. Those familiar with it recognize that your above assessment of course wasn’t the half of it.

    I have been posting elsewhere on the horrendous injustice she repeatedly did Matt Selover on breaking his due process ten ways til Sunday. I won’t relay the whole thing from start to finish, except to underline her real piece de resistance.

    When Dr. Edler started coming under heat for the illegal disciplinary action that arose from the bogus QA panel she sat up on Matt, and she recognized that Commissioner Bergosh wasn’t going to let his questions go unanswered, she asked two of the people who sat the board to help her fake the timeline by going down on paper with false information. One of them was happy to help. To his credit, however, Matt Hoopaugh wouldn’t do it, and moreover told Matt that he wanted to come clean on the whole thing to HR and Administration. I will never forget the phone call, just before Christmas, I got from Matt, who was elated that the whole thing was finally going to get revealed.

    Unbelievably, Jana Still refused to take evidence from Mr. Hoopaugh.

    Instead, she stated in writing that Matt could not have a second appeal, and that if he wanted further recourse he could go find it in civil court. (Yes, that’s right for all of you ECWers who hang that on Commissioner Bergosh–it was Jana Still who encouraged Matt to sue the County, and in fact left him with no other recourse.)

    As garbage as that bogus response was, it was made even worse–perhaps even fraudlent–by this fact: Matt had never had a first appeal.

    The reason? Both HR (Ed Spainhower) and County Attorney (Charlie Peppler, seconded, I believe, by Kia Johnson) determined that yes, Dr. Edler was harassing Matt, and that she had acted against state statute in reprimanding him.

    Of course, Jana and Janice got around that easily enough. Jana blasted Ed Spainhower’s opinion and reversed it, and County Attorney Alison Rogers went along for the ride on his broken due process, ignoring the opinions of two of the attorneys in her office.

    The instances you logged above, Rick, along with Matt’s are only the stories that have been told. If you were going to cover every person–every veteran staff member just shy of retirement–that Jana Still mercilessly whacked, you’d need to start doing a weekly series.

    Thankfully, the County is righting the ship, so there would be no need to dwell on the pain and financial hardship she caused so many people and their loved ones. I really hope that any staff members that suffered arbitrary consequences from Still’s regime reach out through appropriate channels at the County. We’re a lot of good folks down with a whole lot of rebuilding to do.

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