For two decades, every time the Emergency Operations Center was activated, Escambia County held regular press briefings to explain what was happening -whether it was a hurricane, oil flood, ice storm, flood or jail explosion.
The current county administrator, Janice Gilley, has held only two press conferences at the EOC – on March 17 and April 1 – over the 36 days the EOC has been activated.
This morning, the Florida Department of Health reported the state had only 440 new COVID-19 cases since 6 p.m. Tuesday. However, 17.7 percent of those cases were in one county – Escambia. The county had a 23% increase within 17 hours, making Escambia the fourth highest per capita COVID-19 hot spot in Florida.
It’s incumbent upon the chief executive officer of Escambia County government to explain this unprecedented spike, days before the state and county begin to phase out restrictions.
Her predecessors – George Touart, Bob McLaughlin, Randy Oliver, Larry Newsom and Jack Brown – never would have hesitated to get experts in front of the media to discuss what was happening and answer questions.
We can make guesses for the jump, but we only have raw data. Ms. Gilley and her team have the answers, and the taxpayers have right to hear them.
What is she hiding? And why are the commissioners allowing her to be the most secretive administrator in recent county history?