Plan B: Retire Touart, Remove Valentino

The “negotiations” over how the county resolves the findings of the U.S. Department of Justice are a microcosm of problems with the two top leaders of Escambia County government–Interim County Administrator George Touart and Board Chairman Gene Valentino. This county can’t move forward, improve and deal with the myriad of issues facing it as long as these two men control the process. Both need to go.

He was brought back in November so that the commissioners could right a past “wrong” and let him get vested in the state pension system. That date has passed and now Touart has once again become the sixth county commissioner–manipulating the budget and departments to meet his own agenda. He is the gatekeeper between the commissioners and controls what they are told. The jail negotiations are the perfect example of his interference and backdoor antics. His advisers–Ronnie McNesby and Dennis Williams– are the ones who got the jail in trouble and caused the investigation to take place. Retire Touart, thank him for his service and bring in an interim while the search of a new administrator is done.

The District 2 commissioner has once again proved that his ego and personal demons make him unfit to chair the county commission. He was charged to help Touart with the jail negotiations and immediately attacked the Sheriff David Morgan and the detention staff on television. Who was his source of his wild-ass allegations? A convicted felon. Add to his insanity, Valentino’s constant belittling of his fellow commissioners during their meetings and workshops. The commission needs to vote to remove him as its chairman and appoint Wilson Robertson to complete his term as chair. Lumon May will take over in November. Robertson has the experience to guide the BCC through the rest of the budget process.

The Board of County Commissioners meets on Thursday. Both these motions can be passed that day and we will get this county back on track.