Replacing Jack

by Duwayne Escobedo, Inweekly

–When it comes to replacing Jack Brown, commissioners already have begun compiling their wish lists.

The next county administrator takes over during a pivotal time in Escambia County. Among other initiatives in the pipeline, big employers Navy Federal and ST Engineering have expansion plans underway. Major economic development sites are ready to be filled, such as the 636-acre Outlying Field 8 and the 1,758-acre The Bluffs Industrial Campus. The 720-bed, $129 million jail will be under construction and scheduled for completion in 2020. Game-changing Triumph Gulf Coast fund from BP to pay for damage from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill must be secured and spent, etc.

Commission Chairman Lumon May hopes a 90-to-120 day national search produces someone with expertise revitalizing economic depressed neighborhoods.

“We have a lot of major projects going on,” said May, who served during the hiring of Brown in June 2014. “I’m excited to lead the county in getting a new administrator.”

Among other things, the county administrator should be a “bridge builder” who can work with the new strong mayor Grover Robinson, the future appointed superintendent and other organizations, May pointed out.

[pullquote]“We need someone with bold leadership, who is not afraid to take chances.”-Commissioner Lumon May[/pullquote]

“They must get along with everyone,” said May, who serves District 3. “We need someone with bold leadership, who is not afraid to take chances.”

Meanwhile, District 5 county commissioner Steven Barry has also drawn up a list and said it’s paramount the search begin soon.

“My ideal county administrator would have many qualities,” Barry said. “They must have a passion for our community; a heart for public service; the experience of leading a large organization; a strong work ethic; unquestionable integrity; and the aptitude and ability to successfully implement the priorities set by our board members.”

The five-member commission scheduled a special meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 to begin the consideration of hiring an administrator to replace Brown, who retired in mid-October to take care of his ailing wife.