County dysfunction hurting the community

Since last week, I’ve focused on the poor communication from the county on the coronavirus. Other counties have been proactive, while Escambia has been barely reactive. For whatever reason, the county administration has taken a lackadaisical approach:

  • A flyer is posted late at night and put in the county buildings but not sent out to the media.
  • Baptist Hospital holds a presser on its coronavirus with not county leadership at the table.
  • The patient dies – the governor and CDC react, but the county is silent over the weekend.
  • The tourism begs for TDC dollars and the county administration can’t answer simple budget questions.
  • The EOC holds a closed door meeting without inviting the press. Meanwhile UWF is considering moving its classes online.
  • Most county updates on the coronavirus are sent after 5 p.m., missing media deadlines.

Maybe the problem is County Administrator Janice Gilley is overwhelmed with her job and doesn’t have staff that understands how to handle an emergency crisis—other than John Dosh, whom she has thrown under the bus.

Maybe it’s that Gilley has no experience with county operations during a crisis – her most recent experience was Hurricane Ivan in 2004 when she was rolling off the county commission.

Maybe it’s that her communication director, Laura Coale, has little county crisis communications experience – she comes from the “feel-good” news environment of community colleges.

Maybe the local media is spoiled. We remember how well the county handled hurricanes, BP oil spill, ice storms, floods and jail explosions – how great the communications were. Of course, few of the people who handled those events are still around – except for John Dosh.

Whatever the problem, the county can do better.  Read this week’s Outtakes.


9 thoughts on “County dysfunction hurting the community

  1. How did he put the county at risk? He was asked to write the evaluation by the then acting County Administrator. John Dosh would have been insubordinate to not write an evaluation, it is “illegal” in your eyes simply because you don’t happen to agree with it. I happen to believe JD was giving an honest evaluation due to his work history with the good doctor. There is no reason for him to go, period. Now, the good doctor, that is another thing altogether, in my opinion……..

  2. I was referring to commissioners jumping into the limelight in the press. The truth is there are no funds to do anything available on a county basis.

  3. Sorry, for the missing word it should read relative term. Anyway ,one basic rule in management is that you can delegate authority but not responsibility.

  4. Joe,
    Please notice my comment are directed to the county administration, not the commissioners. The CEO of city government is the mayor. The CEO of the county is the county administrator. Commissioners are prohibited by law in inferring with employees. The staff takes their orders from the county administrator.

    I am not convinced that the job evaluation was secret or punitive. The county administrator has shared few details.


  5. I’ll have to agree to disagree. If the commission sat on it’s hands and took no action they were wrong. If not their purview why the current comments on Covid19? Shouldn’t they work through channels on that too? You know that management is a relative with regards to both the city and county.

  6. The commissioners only hire two people – county administrator and county attorney. Gilley is where the bucks stops for operations.

  7. The dysfunction is real but the buck stops with the commission they were supposed to be in charge when it all happened weren’t they? Didn’t they make all the appointments?

  8. I’m not so sure the current narrative about the job evaluation is correct. There is much more to learn before judgment is made. Dosh is the best emergency director in the state of Florida.

  9. You obviously like John Dosh but if he participated in that job review he put put the county legally at risk he had to go. When you turn on the lights in the kitchen the roaches scurry. Why don’t you have some useful ideas or is it ” not your job”

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