Public safety director resigns

Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley has lost a senior leader that she bragged to the commissioners was her best hire in her 18-month tenure – Public Safety Director Jason Rogers.

Gilley announced his resignation at the Committee of the Whole in cryptic manner, not letting the public know why: “We’ve discussed with you the situation for his resignation. I’m very sad to accept that.”

The PNJ got a copy of Rogers’ resignation letter in which the directer Rogers cited “a significant medical event” in his immediate family that occurred when he took office in June and stated he was resigning to take care of his family.

Why didn’t Gilley mention the read the letter into the record so that the public would understand the abrupt change? Why the secrecy?

PNJ reported that Rogers also said in the letter, “Since that time unforeseen complications have compounded making my departure necessary.”

Are those “unforeseen circumstances” personal or professional?

Inweekly began making calls yesterday and got two different tales. One is Rogers was fed up with county leadership – unclear it’s the commissioners or Gilley – and the chaos in the public safety department. Rogers’ responsibilities included oversight of daily operations and planning for long-term improvements for Escambia County EMS, Emergency Management, county dispatch and 911 center, the Pensacola Beach Lifeguards, the county medical director, as well as Escambia County Fire Rescue’s combination career and volunteer division. All of these are have  had challenges this year.

The other reason given is there may have been an issue involving the HR director and her interactions with the department.

Rogers brought 27 years of public safety experience from Indiana to Escambia County. He served as both the director of emergency management and as the executive director of the Delaware County Emergency Medical Services in Muncie, Ind.

He was given high marks for how he handled Hurricane Sally.