Touart Survives Round One

escambia search committeeMembers of the Escambia County Administrator Search Committee went down the list of applicants for the county’s top job this afternoon and whittled down the number of potential contenders. Interim County Administrator George Touart made the cut on a 4-1 vote.

“He’s qualified,” said Bob Price. “Yes.”

“No,” declined Joseph Marshall.

“Yes,” said Tom Knox.

“Yes,” agreed Joseph Ward.

“I say yes, too,” committee Chairman David Pavlok finished.

Touart joins nine other applicants in the committee’s revised pool. Escambia County Human Resources Director Tom Turner suggested that the committee narrow its focus further—“five is a pretty good number”—before presenting its suggestions to the Escambia County Commission.

“I think we have one more meeting and whittle this ten down to four, five, six or whatever,” agreed Pavlok.

The committee meets again July 15. Once commissioners have the group’s final list of suggested applicants, the county board will make its determination on who to pursue for the administrator position.

At the onset of this afternoon’s meeting, search committee members commiserated about the lack of qualified applicants they found in the binders of resumes that sat before them. Marshall noted he was “dismayed” and “discouraged,” while Ward found himself “disappointed.”

“It’s not too hard to cull out a lot of’em,” said Price.

Turner agreed.

“It’s not real deep,” the HR director said. “You guys make your own opinion, but it’s not an extraordinarily deep pool.”

The whittled list of ten applicants consist of Touart (current interim administrator and former administrator); Lyndon Bonner, (from Ocala, has city and county administrative experience); James Chansler (from Jacksonville, has managed utilities and wastewater operations); David Fanslau (from Rock Hill, N.Y., has county administrative experience); Kenneth Fields (from Boca Raton, has city administrative experience); Kenneth Griffin (from Tampa, has county and water/sewer administrative experience); Patrick Howard (from Seneca, SC, has county administrative experience); Albert Penksa (from Gettysburg, Pa., has county administrative experience); Ronald Rabun (from Griffin, Ga., has county administrative experience); Kevin Seawright (from Baltimore, Md., has municipal experience).

Applicants resumes are available for viewing on the county’s website, at

The search committee was seated by the county commission to advise the board in its quest for a permanent administrator. Each member was selected by an individual commissioner.

Commission Chairman Gene Valentino selected Ward; Vice Chairman Lumon May selected Marshall; Commissioner Wilson Robertson selected Pavlok; Commissioner Grover Robinson selected Knox; Commissioner Steven Barry selected Price.

The committee’s July 15 meeting begins at 1:30 p.m., and is scheduled for the county’s Central Office Complex, located at 3363 W. Park Place.