Latest Touart and Whitehead power grap

You may have missed this news brief in Aug. 18 PNJ:

TouartFrom Pensacola News Journal staff reports
Commission votes to take over some duties of the clerk’s office

The Escambia County Commission on Thursday voted to create its own finance department and is moving forward to implement a new computer system.

The decision was made despite objections from Clerk of Court Ernie Lee Magaha’s office.

The move would give the County Commission authority over accounts payable and receivable, payroll and administrative support, by absorbing the clerk’s office employees who handle those functions.

It comes after months of wrangling over a new computer system the county has spent about $1.3 million installing, and officials in the clerk’s office have walked away from, saying the software is inadequate.

“We have begged Mr. Magaha to come back to the table,” said County Administrator George Touart.

Chief Deputy Clerk Lisa Bernau, speaking on behalf of Magaha, said that the commission’s action would force the clerk’s office to file a lawsuit to retain its constitutional authority.

RO Note: This is major news and should have been on the front page of the daily newspaper.

The Clerk of Court Ernie Lee Magaha is the primary control the taxpayers have over county government. This is bold move by County Administrator George Touart and County Commission chairman Mike Whitehead to escape Magaha’s oversight.

Remember it was Magaha that overuled the County paying for Touart’s legal fees in grand jury investigations regarding him and the Sheriff trying to strong arm Arety Sievers. Touart and the Sheriff were cleared by grand jury and ethics commission.

Well, this is payback.

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