Roll Tide, roll BOCC

While most of us were watching the BCS National Championship or, at least, getting ready to watch the game, the Escambia Board of County Commissioners made three big decisions:

1. As predicted in the IN’s Winners & Losers, the BOCC named Larry Newsom as the interim county administrator.

2. The BOCC voted 5-0 to rescind its funding and lease agreements with the Arts Council of Northwest Florida. It will hold a workshop on the funding for local arts groups on Jan. 14.

3. And the biggest surprise, the BOCC voted 3-2 to withdraw its support for the Consolidation plan that is being drafted and set to be presented to the local legislative delegation on Jan. 15. Commissioners Robertson (who proposed a delay until 2012), White and Valentino voted for the withdrawal. In reading the PNJ article, the primary reason for the vote was that Robertson and others believed the current draft was too rushed and hadn’t allowed for enough time for public and BOCC input on the final document.

We have heard that there is similar discontent among the Pensacola City Council members. Many believe that they should have had a final report before now and not a draft seven days before submittal to the legislative delegation.

The Consolidation Commission doesn’t need the approval for the Pensacola City Council, BOCC or the Town Council of Century. However, the Northwest Florida Legislative delegation had earlier indicated that they wanted support from all three boards.