Local workers lose out on county projects

In August 2018, the Escambia Board of County Commissioners passed the Covenant for the Community, which requires all county construction projects–funded solely funded from the county’s budget– to have 70% of the workers on that project live in Escambia or Santa Rosa counties.

The policy isn’t a minority set-aside policy –it’s a community inclusion policy that lets county dollars help local working families.

The commissioners were pioneers, passing the resolution two years ahead of the city of Pensacola. Well, they would have been pioneers if County Administrator Janice Gilley and her predecessors made sure the county’s purchasing department implemented the covenant, according to PNJ reporter Jim Little’s reporting.

A month after the commissioners’ vote, County Administrator Jack Brown went on medical leave. Amy Lovoy and Matt Coughlin served as interim administrators until Gilley took over on July 1, 2019.

As Gilley approaches her two-year anniversary, the county has yet to implement the covenant. She told Little, “I cannot speak to the past, specifically, but I think for the future, we have a plan on how to make sure that we monitor this and more closely implement it.”

When pressed, Gilley blamed high turnover and department changes. Maybe so, but she’s the CEO. All county operations are under her. The implementation of board policies is her responsibility.

Where else has Gilley dropped the ball? Good reporting by Jim Little.


2 thoughts on “Local workers lose out on county projects

  1. So what to they do in Santa Rosa County? Do they consider Escambia County businesses and residents to be “local”? If not, why should we (Escambia County) give them preference in hiring and contracting? The City of Pensacola has purchasing policies that give no preference to city businesses which is why there is no benefit to being located “in” the City of Pensacola. The small business ordinance considers “local” to be all of Escambia County and all of Santa Rosa County. It used to include all of Okaloosa County and all of Walton County too and all of Mobile County (Alabama) and all of Baldwin County (Alabama) too. I kept suggesting that the City Council should limit its preference program to city businesses. Councilman Charles Bare proposed limiting it to Escambia County. Councilwoman Megan Pratt objected saying that many of her Aragon friends had bought houses in Gulf Breeze and moved their businesses there. That is why Bare’s proposal was amended to include Santa Rosa County. The city’s veteran’s preference program covers two county. The city’s minority preference program covers all of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties and “Mobile, Alabama.” Why Mobile? I doubt that any past or present City Council members know. At the time, none of them would ask about it or if or if not “Mobile” meant the city or the county and what about Baldwin County? In December 2020, Mayor Robinson nullified the City Council’s ordinances issuing his own unlawful “Mayoral Policy 20-01” described as “Covenant for the Community for the City of Pensacola.” Robinson’s “city policy” describes “local business” to mean one in Escambia County or Santa Rosa County. Basically, when you look at all of these policies and covenants, the intent is mostly to ensure that businesses and people in Santa Rosa County get preference in Escambia County and Pensacola as if they were in Escambia County. It really is getting to the point where maybe we should just hold a referendum and vote to abolish Escambia County and by default become the western part of Santa Rosa County. The good news is that those of us who now live in Escambia County will pay significantly lower taxes, have a far better school system run by a Superintendent accountable to citizens and vote for all five county commissioners and school board members.

  2. She is so full of it. I made a longer post on some of the recent history of trying to fight her wonky procurements and money moving over on my Facebook wall, so won’t repeat it all here. But this, to me, is key in Jim’s reporting, which is indeed excellent.
    “Gilley said the covenant for the community would be included on most projects going forward in “request for proposals” on major eligible projects.

    “Now, I want to be very clear, not every single RFP,” Gilley said. “If it’s for something really small, it may be something that might not necessarily rise to that level. Typically, whenever you’re doing projects, the larger projects are the ones that you would require that reporting for.”
    This is EXACTLY how she has been getting around it. She knows that these small businesses do not have the capitol to bid on the large projects–and, increasingly, she is rolling multiple projects together in one big package that don’t have to be combined. Then she does not put the smaller RFPs through Covenant. Does that make sense to anyone? Of course not. It’s garbage, and unbelievable that she actually thinks anybody is going to be foolish enough to believe it.

    As to her claim that she can’t speak blah specifically blah past actions blah, she might want to go back and reference her own “100 Day Plan”–which specifically highlights procurement and minority businesses under the “HOW we do things” column. William of NorthEscambia had a good report of that plan, and he links to it here:


    I reviewed the plan pretty thoroughly for “proliferate single vendor contracts” and “price fix debris removal” under how we do things, but I don’t see them anywhere on there.

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