Gilley suggests ‘Burn the Masks’ ceremony

While several communities have held memorial ceremonies honoring those who have died because COVID-19, Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley wants to hold a “Burn the Mask” ceremony.

She suggested the event at yesterday’s weekly COVID-19 call with local health officials, hospital executives and city and county officials. The meeting is closed to the media and public.

As of April 30, the Florida Department of Health reported Escambia County has suffered 679 deaths related to COVID-19.  Since Jan. 1, FDOH has recorded 306 deaths – an 82% increase.

The New York Times has labeled Escambia County has a very high risk for exposure to the virus.   Only 26% of the adult population is completely vaccinated.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, and the county will recognize the losses before holding a keg party.


3 thoughts on “Gilley suggests ‘Burn the Masks’ ceremony

  1. Based on some of the questions from Commissioners about what is going on maybe she should focus on managing the County.

  2. So well said, Mike. It’s indicative of a profound disconnect that just can’t be fixed. It’s difficult for me to imagine the bubble of entitlement, ignorance, and selfishness that she exists in to make such a statement. To even have such an idea in her head to begin with, let alone say it at a table of medical professionals who didn’t have enough masks to keep their own people safe at the beginning of the pandemic.

    There’s nothing more about the situation at the County that can be said with more truth, eloquence, or caring than you have here, other than to add that all of that is happening while she is sitting on 10M of CARES money that was lobbied by the ATU to try to help ameliorate some of the suffering and injustice that you have laid out.

    My own personal reaction to it was her joking about bonfires when they can’t even burn the bodies quickly enough in India. Crematoriums buckling under the loads of 600 bodies per day. Doctors have no PPE. People are dying for lack of oxygen. But hey, life must be good on the Fourth Floor of the Ernie Magaha building. Maybe if she had ever made the slightest attempt to venture outside those confines, she might have some sense of what life is actually like for a County staff member these days. Any day.

    Then again, maybe she wouldn’t. There are some kinds of solipsism that just don’t fix.

  3. If this is true and I hope it is not true that she said this.

    I’m just sitting here thinking of all the County workers underneath her. So many lost pay because of contracting the virus and suffering through recovery complications. They lost their earned sick time. Some employees even lost their lives. Some even went weeks without pay.

    There’s even a 25-year employee who was recently “involuntary separated” from her employment due to contracting the virus and suffering complication setbacks which prevented her from returning back to work at this time. Ms. Gilley and her cronies can’t even work out a settlement with this workers labor union. Just to give this employee an option to return back to her 25 year job if she continues to recover from COVID and give her back her job without loss of seniority rights and allow her to retire on her terms not COVID terms.

    Instead of claiming a burning of masks. Why not lead and address all the County workers who suffered through this Pandemic? Make them whole. Have justice prevail for and do right by protecting them. Especially noting many of these workers are front line critical essential employees who simply put their lives on the line everyday during this pandemic crisis.

    There are so many real life stories of families who lost a loved one right here in this community. It’s clear these families have a truly heart felt story of grief to tell. Honor those who’ve suffered great loss by being a leader and taking action of dignity and grace. Throwing a burning of the masks party would not end the struggles so many still will face. Keep in mind always, that so many actually lost loved ones, or lost their jobs, or even lost their homes. Some even suffered financial loss that may take years to recover from.

    This isn’t a time to joke about mask wearing. It’s time to heal and support. Administrator Gilley has been out of touch with her own employees let alone the citizens of this community. In my opinion. It’s time to burn a County Administrator’s contract rather than a mask. Time for leadership.

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