Childers goes off again

Something must be in the water at the MC Blanchard Judicial Building, County Clerk Pam Childers dropped another bomb at today’s BCC meeting, declaring the state had told her the county’s annuity retirement program was illegal.

However, when County Attorney Allison Rogers requested Childers’ documentation, she had nothing but a link to the new FRS enrollment form. Through a public request, I received the email trail between Childers and Rogers.

—–Original Message—–
From: Alison A. Rogers <>
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2021 10:06 AM
To: Pam Childers (COC) <> Cc: Codey Leigh (COC) <>
Subject: PRR: Your comments during BCC meeting

Hi Pam,

Please consider this a public records request for the opinion, memo, email or other similar record which you indicated during the Board meeting came from the State regarding the legality of elected officials participation in a 401a program.

Thank you,

In her response, Childers said FRS has eliminated the option to withdraw from the state pension for a local annuity plan. Another staff member has written communications and all of hers were verbal.

She doesn’t identify who told her the local annuity plan was illegal for commissioners.

Childers says the commissioners need to be “walked back” out of the plan and should repay the money. She also told Rogers not to get a legal opinion on the matter.

On Jul 22, 2021, at 10:37 AM, Pam Childers (COC) <> wrote:

See the FRS website. The form for Elected Officials has been updated. There is no longer Option #5 that states “Withdraw from the FRS to participate in a local annuity plan”.

There are limited reasons to opt out of FRS. FRS is compulsory if statutes do not allow an opt-out provision.

When Codey returns, he will share our follow up written communication. My communication was all verbal. There is no need to amend the statute because the statute is clearly written.

We will need to talk through walking back those commissioners in the 401a to migrate back to FRS. The statute is clear how that happens.

During a previous meeting, all commissioners agreed to give back the money if it was deemed illegal. I will prepare calculations for the amount that can legally be kept and that which should be returned to the county. The contribution rates are clearly written in the statutes, we can compound a reasonable rate of earnings.

I suggest that you cease in obtaining the written opinion requested by the Board regarding a “settlement”. You informed me by email that it has not been received.


Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller
First Judicial Circuit, Escambia County
(850) 595-4314

Rogers points out to Childers that FRS allowed the commissioners to opt-out. If FRS changed its mind, then the agency – not Childers – should have contacted the commissioners. The standard policy has been to grandfather-in people when a program changes.

The County Attorney said she has the legal opinion from outside counsel and doesn’t intend to send the memo to Childers because it’s “attorney work product.”

From: “Alison A. Rogers” <>
Date: July 22, 2021 at 11:18:34 AM CDT
To: “Pam Childers (COC)” <> Cc: “Codey Leigh (COC)” <>, District1 <>, District2 <>, District3 <>, District4 <>, District5 <>
Subject: Re: PRR: Your comments during BCC meeting


Thank you.

We have three commissioners who the FRS specifically allowed to opt out of FRS in order to participate in a local annuity; one would assume if FRS has changed its mind on previously participating officials, then it should reach out to those it knowingly allowed to do this. I would have to assume participants would be grandfathered. Of course, I will see what Codey provides.

As for the memo, we are now in receipt of it, but like I indicated, it is attorney work product unless waived by the Board.


At some point, Childers will have to provide written legal opinions on her pronouncements. Why hasn’t she gotten a legal opinion from the Florida Attorney General?

She says she has worked on this for nearly two years, plenty of time to get one.



3 thoughts on “Childers goes off again

  1. Pam Childers needs to stay in her lane and quit manufacturing BS and interfering in issues that are not in her baliwick.

  2. E-mail is a very bad medium to resolve legal questions and public policy debates. County Attorney Alison Rogers has put forth a very reasonable rebuttal. Codey Leigh is the Clerk of the Court & Comptroller’s General Counsel. He should prepare and submit for Pam Childer’s review a formal Memorandum of Law in the old-fashioned IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion) format like they make you do in first year Legal Research & Writing class in law school. Leigh has an atypical background for an attorney. He attended Florida Coastal College of Law in Jacksonville for two years (2006-2008). His resume is a blank from August 2008 to October 2009. He was admitted to the Florida Bar on April 30, 2009. During his time working as an attorney, October 2009 to present, its unclear what type of legal work he did at the Florida Department of Revenue and from December 2016 to August 2019 he was the local Director of Court Services. How much legal work does that job involve? He has only been in his current job since September 2019. See also: My money is on County Attorney Alison Rogers on this one.

  3. I simply cannot understand how or why Ms. Childers keeps speaking these flat-out untruths on the podium, as if anyone familiar with the ECAT negotiations–including the majority of the Board–isn’t more than aware of what has actually been going on in them.

    Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe to date Ms. Childers has attended one–one–ECAT negotiation, on the heels of Ms. Gilley’s termination. Clearly, she is upset by that termination, but to keep throwing up the claim that the ATU leadership (and others) at the County are lying “about the former administrator, about the current administrator” (wasn’t yesterday afternoon the first ATU negotiation Mr. Moreno led?)–with ZERO examples of what lies she is talking about–is part and parcel of the politicking that has been coming from the Clerk’s office as of late.

    The best part is when she said “we” when referring to trying to set dates and move forward with the negotiations. Um, although a constitutional officer certainly has every right to attend those meetings, and should receive the respect due her office when attending, the Clerk’s office has no more to do do with the actual negotiations than any member of the public attending.

    So once again, this vague but firm and persistent notion from some corners that a combination of the Clerk of Court, a past administrator, an HR director who was terminated for her ineptitude, and, perhaps, the PNJ patrons are the “we” running this County had damaging repercussions not just for the rebuilding and function of the County as a whole, but the reputation of the Clerk’s office in particular.

    Hopefully she will see this sooner rather than later, and get back to the business of her constitutional office rather than trying to insert herself into the County’s budget process, retirement structures, and now labor negotiations. Ms. Childers is a very popular officer and therefore has a lot of latitude. Would that she start using it for the good, because it would be a whole lot better for the BOCC to have a partner in the necessary rebuilding, rather than having to work around her current ill-placed obstructionism.

    While Ms. Childers is obviously having something of a moment, Chairman Bender has no excuses for his deplorable behavior and action as chair yesterday, losing all decorum in a manner that was completely off the rails in the context of what was actually happening. He is no longer a new chair, and should have by now come to a place where he is comfortable enough in his own authority to not respond to surprises of that nature with knee-jerk defensiveness and kicking the cat. Mr. Howard had been completely respectful in his remarks to the commission before Ms. Childers went out on a rotten limb again. Chairman Bender *should* have reined in Ms. Childers, who was the person opining out of line. Instead, we got the spectacle of him bleating at Mr. Howard in an out-of-control fashion and unnecessarily removing him from the room. He might have deferred to Mr. Howard to allow him to respond, rather than that show of autocracy. Just because he has the right to kick a person off the podium doesn’t mean he had to. I wish one of the other commissioners would have had the presence of mind to give Mr. Howard the opportunity to refute the falsehoods Ms. Childers spoke, but they were probably just as shocked as everyone else.
    The looks on the poor bailiffs’ faces as they were forced through that theater said it all. It was a nonsense display that achieved nothing but more divisiveness, as does Chairman Bender’s arbitrary doling of extra minutes as of late to some with rude cut-offs for others. With five more months holding the gavel, hopefully Chairman Bender will take a step back and reassess his dais relationships, and whether his political alignments–which are becoming more and more evident–are really what’s best for the County and his constituents. This turning point in Escambia is far too important to be led by a chair who has apparently been led by the nose for far too long.

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