Search Extended, Raise Declined

county commissionThe Escambia County Commission extended its search for a county administrator today, as Interim Country Administrator George Touart declined a proposed raise.

Commissioners decided to extend the administrator search for 90 days. They’ll get a progress update from HR in a month.

Commission Chairman Gene Valentino—who earlier in the day pushed for extending Touart’s contract, plus a raise—said he was weary of bringing someone unfamiliar with the terrain into the county.

“I’m cautious about looking to find someone from the other end of the Earth that doesn’t understand the nuances of Escambia County,” Valentino said, also suggesting that the county may have too much on its plate to accommodate a learning curve—“I’m fearful with all the dynamic balls we have in the air right now.”

The commission also decided today to form a five person committee—with candidates selected by individual commissioners—to narrow down the field of applicants at the end of the extended search period. Commissioner Grover Robinson said he thought it was important that the county hire a permanent administrator by fall 2013.

“I think that’s a signal we need to send to the public,” Robinson said.

During the morning agenda review, Chairman Valentino and Commissioner Wilson Robertson lobbied for Touart to be named as county administrator. While the other three commissioners were not inclined to drop ‘interim’ from Touart’s title, the board seemed to have the votes to approve a $10,000 raise proposed by Valentino.

Touart, however, said after tonight’s meeting that he had told commissioners to forget about the raise.

“I told them I didn’t want the raise,” he said, “and I was satisfied with what I was getting.”

Also during tonight’s commission meeting, the board approved the fuel tax interlocal agreement recently reached with the city of Pensacola and rescinded a resolution pertaining to Perdido Key signage.