County Budget Director resigns

NorthEscambia.com has reported that Amber McClure, who was hired by former County Administrator Janice Gilley a year ago to be her budget director, has submitted her resignation two days after the commissioners’ budget workshops.

When Gilley was fired on June 17, McClure had to help Interim County Administrator Wes Moreno pull together a budget proposal after she returned from a scheduled vacation. The budget workshops went smoothly with no indication of problems during McClure’s presentations to the board.

McClure resigned via email: “I wanted to share with you that I have made the decision, after much consideration, to part ways with Escambia County Board of County Commissioners. I am passionate about making a difference and appreciate the time I’ve been fortunate enough to serve the citizens of Escambia County alongside each of you. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you — you are an inspirational, pleasant group of leaders — your passion is apparent.”

Her last day on the job will be Friday, Aug. 20.

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3 thoughts on “County Budget Director resigns

  1. Mr. Lewis, I typically learn something from reading your posts, even though I always have to be careful to sort the wheat from the chaff. This time, however, you need a swine to show you where the truffles are.

    News flash: Ms. McClure did not have the budget done in time to meet with commissioners, threw things together on a wing and a prayer, and then blamed them for getting used as a political pawn by her superiors and external advisors–who apparently assured her she could box three of the commissioners out of the budget just fine, no worries there. That’s how we’ll get’er rammed through, all right.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, the mistake she made was in putting her faith in people who were making bad work of things. And while what she brought clearly wasn’t ready for prime time–if you couldn’t see that, then you are very far indeed from your days at the Pentagon, sir–it certainly might be a feasible model for the future. Agile budgeting during times of crisis is difficult enough in private companies, let alone a government agency answering to statute. And she clearly was aware she didn’t have the answers to the questions they asked, because she had not answered the necessary questions about goals, definition, strategy, and innovation that should have been the first step in the process for herself. I’m sorry she didn’t stick around for another cycle once she realized that her hiring boss’s fatal inability to consult with five had hung her out to dry on a two. It would have been interesting to see what she could have done with the model she proposed, given sufficient data from the new software (data that doesn’t exist yet), time to consider those nuts and bolts strategy questions, and the pressure to perform a political hit job with the budget she was hired to manage off her shoulders.

    I’ll take you at your word about your previous experience, since you wouldn’t exaggerate that publicly. Therefore I’m surprised that somebody of your background seems so clueless as to what was actually happening at the workshops. Perhaps you didn’t watch closely enough, or the trade has evolved beyond your familiarity. I’d hate to think somebody of your former service was simply making things up to score political points.

  2. Turns out she can do arithmetic. The county won’t employ anyone capable of doing arithmetic. They should have vetted her more carefully prior to hiring her.

  3. It’s too bad that a certified court reporter does not record every word spoken during BOCC meetings so the public and media can easily see in black and white the absurdity of what goes on in these meetings. Watching the July 21 workshop, as example, you could only feel empathy for McClure as she dealt with commissioners far out of their depth, focused on stroking themselves in front of the television cameras with self-serving speeches and hopelessly unprepared for such an important workshop. Several commissioners actually said that they hadn’t carefully read the workshop materials or didn’t understand them. Apparently, there are also so-called “backup materials” that the BOCC had access to but I don’t think the public had access. McClure raised the issue of the American Rescue Plan saying “we have currently no plan for those dollars.” She added, “We do need direction from the board….” This is late July! The county’s first American Rescue Plan is due to the U.S. Department of Treasury at the end of the month. The commissioners didn’t seem to understand the point that McClure was making. At one point, Bergosh told McClure that “this has been a lot of information.” McClure said that she had tried to meet with Bergosh and the other commissioners. Bergosh then tried to pin the blame on McClure. I think it was Bergosh who said “we’re good to go to the September discussion.” In truth, September is the state law mandated budget hearing when they vote. If they are still having “discussions” in September, they and we are doomed. Bergosh said that he would sit down with McClure before the September budget hearings. I can see why she quit. May seemed exasperated openly unfamiliar with how the budget was organized and started muttering about sidewalks in District 3. The most ridiculous moment was near the very end of the day when Bergosh asserted that “revenues are higher than spending.” On what planet? He praised himself and the BOCC for his and their “financial stewardship.” McClure, who strikes me as someone who does not suffer fools, had the backbone to then make sure the BOCC knew that “the budget as prepared is still structurally unbalanced so ongoing revenues are exceeded by ongoing expenses.” Yikes! I think McClure said that the General Fund was short by $32 million. Wow! Escambia County’s culture of chaos continues…. We might all just be better off if the BOCC resigned and Governor DeSantis appointed five acting commissioners selected by random lottery. Heaven help the commissioners if they manage their own finances as they mismanage the public’s money.

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