Fact Check: County administration wrote pandemic plan in January

At a recent virtual “State of the County” interview for the Pensacola Chamber, County Administrator Janice Gilley talked about how she and her emergency manager put together a pandemic plan for the county in January – two months before the governor declared a state of emergency.

“I remember in January when the plague, or the pandemic, started being discussed about in China,” said Gilley. “I actually sent an email to our absolutely not even-I don’t think-on-the-job emergency manager, Eric Gilmore, and I said, “Hey, what’s our pandemic plan?” And he said, “When I get to the office, I’ll let you know.”

“And that was in January before it had really even hit our shores that we were aware of,” she said. “And he and I started working that weekend, that next weekend on a pandemic plan that we had to pull together because the one that we had really wasn’t sufficient for our community.”


On March 5, Inweekly requested a digital copy of the county’s Escambia County Pandemic Influenza Emergency Plan that the county officials said they would follow when asked about their response to COVID-19. It took the county four days to locate it in HR. The plan was dated 2010.

Former Interim Public Safety Director John Dosh sent the plan to county department heads in an email on March 10, the week before County Commission Chair Steve Barry signed a state of emergency declaration. Dosh pointed out the 2010 plan was valid but needed its titles updated.

“As our communities continue to discuss the potential impacts of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) an effort is underway to educate everyone on the county’s 2010 pandemic plan,” wrote Dosh. “Please don’t disregard this plan due to its age, the information and guidance provided is still valid and updating of titles within the plan is forthcoming.”

When the county commission met on March 20, Commissioner Underhill – aware of Inweekly’s attempt to get a copy of the county’s pandemic plan – said, “… I do have the pandemic plan for Escambia County. It was written by Janice last weekend–(he waved a document) –Janice here actually last weekend. This did not exist before last weekend.”

Gilley did not correct Underhill’s statement.

Conclusion: Pants On Fire False

The pandemic plan was written in mid-March — days before the county activated the EOC. The Gilley-Gilmore plan has never been published on the county’s website.

Why the county administrator created a false narrative is a mystery.


2 thoughts on “Fact Check: County administration wrote pandemic plan in January

  1. When will Steven Barry do the right thing and fire Janice Gilley? Taking action to move the county in the right direction by firing Janice Gilley would show his constituents his head isn’t buried permanently in the dirt.

  2. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If Doug’s lips are moving he’s lying, and when Janice hit the County as administrator and her first move was to align with Doug for the easily playable “2nd” (just give him whatever he wants and run it around, over, behind, or through the other commissioners), it was a political match made in hell. I just can’t figure out which one is the Missing Piece and which one is the Big O.

    Next up: set your sites on a solid 3. And it ain’t gonna be Commissioner May or Commissioner Bergosh, so let’s try Commissioner Bender.

    How will that work, given he’s a sensible man? What do you think, Alison? Should I fool his aide into thinking we’re besties and start convincing him everybody else is crazy, don’t listen to anybody but us? Then I can start presenting Doug’s plans as “staff recommendations” and triangulate it, just like the good old days. He’ll never know the difference. Hell, we’ll even put it into his head that some of it was his idea to begin with.
    We’ve got to break that 4-1 against Doug. It’s the only way our jobs are safe.

    Some paradigms are time out of mind in Escambia County.

    All that aside–which has been screamingly obvious since before the pandemic even got here–the second worst thing Janice has done since she hit the County (and I am not at liberty to comment on the first worst, yet)–is her senseless, malicious, and ruthless trashing of JD’s reputation in the last year leading up to his retirement.

    Miss him yet, Escambia? How many times did that man lead this community through horrible calamities? How many years did the citizens of this County know that, whatever happened, we had a first-rate Emergency Manager director that was respected throughout the state of Florida, and for good reason?

    Problem: JD was a bit of an inconvenience to the Public Safety narrative Janice was running as duck and cover for her Herculean efforts in continuing to hide those toxic workplace complaints and realign the Public Safety stooges to her benefit (first step: send the HR director out in short skirts to deal with the firefighters).

    The only answer? Trash JD’s reputation in the press, drag him through the mud for months on end, make up ridiculous stories about secret hand-offs on off-the-books evaluations, and, above all…

    Lie to cover up the lie that you told before that was to cover up the initial lie that was born of a bad motive.

    If the public and the commission cannot finally see the blatant and brazen dishonesty of this administration and some of the division leads Janice has brought in, then they simply never will. *Imagine* standing at that podium in front of the Chair and letting the Number 1 POS in the county, Doug Underhill, tee it up on the ridiculous notion that Gilmore and Gilley wrote our pandemic plan over a weekend. What a joke.

    And then, as most liars do, she doubles and triples down on the lie, adding a tweak with one audience, adding another moving part with the next audience. Thinking that there was some magical barrier around that Pensacola Chamber fiasco that would somehow keep that lie (among other doozies dropped in that interview) from getting back to the commission.

    I wonder if the Chair and his peers have watched it yet to see how she was out of the gate throwing them under the bus for having day jobs? While she self-pitied about how hard she is working. Did she really think that wouldn’t get back to them?

    Um, Facebook Janice. It’s this social media platform where….oh, never mind.

    If she will arrange a group lie so obvious, so ludicrous, and so public as this, and then foster it over months to grow and strengthen it, then ask yourself this:

    What else has she lied about?

    Perhaps better:

    What won’t she lie about?

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