This is my fault. Apparently at the Escambia County EOC the media must stay in a closed off meeting room away from the elected officials and county staff. The room has glass windows so we can observe the EOC and we can only hear what is being said at the podium over an intercom system. The media must wait for people to be brought to them in the press room for any Q & A. People, like the BP reps, don’t have to come to the room.
Yesterday was my first day in the EOC. I was given a media badge after I signed a roster sheet and was escorted to the media area. After waiting nearly 30 minutes for something to happen, I left the room to talk to Lisa Bernau, Mayor Mike Wiggins and Commissioners Robinson & Valentino who were in the atrium waiting on Florida CFO Alex Sink.
When Sink arrived, Grover, Gene and Alex invited me to walk into the EOC with them. I did and sat down with at the elected officials table by Grover and Mayor Wiggins. I think I was in Commissioner Marie Young’s rarely-used chair.
County staff was furious. Sonya Daniel escorted me out of the room before the speeches. Now I screwed up. I admit that I broke rules – but what was so sacred about that meeting. The county needs the media to help get the word out.
Funny thing, Fort Walton Beach Mayor Mike Anderson, an elected official from Okaloosa County, was allowed in the room, even the EOC has no jurisdiction over his county.