We’re baaaaaaack

We have so much to share:

Santa Rosa County had its fifth COVID-19 fatality yesterday.

County Administrator Janice Gilley has told commissioners that she plans to fire the head of union for ECAT workers, Mike Lowery.  Lowery, who is the head of ATU Local has called out Gilley for misstating facts about the safety for county workers.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health reports that three of the county’s four COVID-19 deaths were tied to local nursing homes.  As of last night, Escambia County has 52 positive cases in long-term care facilities.  Yet, the EOC SitRep for April 16 made no mention of the problem.

Also, county administration reported its first COVID-19 case: An Escambia County public works employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This position does not interact with the community and is located at a small building without public access on Pensacola Beach, 25 Via De Luna Drive. The office area has been sanitized and the employee’s office door has been closed. At this time, no other employees in that building show symptoms, and one employee is in self-quarantine out of precaution. Employees who work in that building have been notified.

The employee is symptomatic and is at home. This case is not travel related. The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County is performing its due diligence to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 by tracing all contacts.

“We are concerned for this employee and pray for a quick recovery,” said County Administrator Janice Gilley.

However, the county didn’t release the location of the “small building” until Inweekly pressed for the information.

Gilley also has begun discussing “reopening” Escambia County.  She told her staff and commissioner that her “experts” have told her the virus will peak next Monday or Tuesday.


Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan D. Boyles last week asked the boards of Santa Rosa and Escambia to join him in opening all the beaches in the three-county area for “a few hours each morning and a few hours each evening and limiting the use to active exercise purposes such as walking, jogging, swimming, paddling and perhaps fishing.”

The county administration hasn’t shared this with the public, but Inweekly obtained through a record request.

From: Nathan Boyles <nboyles@myokaloosa.com>

Date: April 1, 2020 at 10:19:36 AM CDT

To: “rcarroll@baycountyfl.gov” <rcarroll@baycountyfl.gov>, “wdozier@baycountyfl.gov” <wdozier@baycountyfl.gov>, “pgriffitts@baycountyfl.gov” <pgriffitts@baycountyfl.gov>, “hamm@baycountyfl.gov” <hamm@baycountyfl.gov>, “bmajka@baycountyfl.gov” <bmajka@baycountyfl.gov>, “kbaker@baycountyfl.gov” <kbaker@baycountyfl.gov>, “chabill@co.walton.fl.us” <chabill@co.walton.fl.us>, “glidanny@co.walton.fl.us” <glidanny@co.walton.fl.us>, “nipmelanie@co.walton.fl.us” <nipmelanie@co.walton.fl.us>, “nictrey@co.walton.fl.us” <nictrey@co.walton.fl.us>, “andtony@co.walton.fl.us” <andtony@co.walton.fl.us>, “jonlarry@co.walton.fl.us” <jonlarry@co.walton.fl.us>, “district1@santarosa.fl.gov” <district1@santarosa.fl.gov>, “commcole@santarosa.fl.gov” <commcole@santarosa.fl.gov>, “commsalt@santarosa.fl.gov” <commsalt@santarosa.fl.gov>, “district4@santarosa.fl.gov” <district4@santarosa.fl.gov>, “commlynchard@santarosa.fl.gov” <commlynchard@santarosa.fl.gov>, “County-Admin@santarosa.fl.gov” <County-Admin@santarosa.fl.gov>, Admin <Admin@myescambia.com>, District1 <District1@co.escambia.fl.us>, District2 <District2@co.escambia.fl.us>, District3 <District3@co.escambia.fl.us>, District4 <District4@co.escambia.fl.us>, District5 <District5@co.escambia.fl.us>
Cc: John Hofstad <jhofstad@myokaloosa.com>

Subject: [EXTERNAL]Commissioner to Commissioner: Local use of Beaches

Commissioners,

I hope this email finds each of you staying healthy in this difficult time. I write as a fellow Northwest Florida Commissioner grappling with the sticky issue of beach closures. Okaloosa County has closed our beaches to all members of the public just as all of you have. I would anticipate that you, like me, are getting many requests to allow locals to make use of the beaches. Based on constituent feedback, I have proposed opening the beaches for a few hours each morning and a few hours each evening and limiting the use to active exercise purposes such as walking, jogging, swimming, paddling and perhaps fishing. In my view chairs, umbrellas or otherwise setting up on the beach would be prohibited. I would likewise expect that bathroom facilities would remain closed.

It seems that this would allow us to grant some relief to our local population to get fresh air and exercise while maintaining proper social distancing and without encouraging any visitor traffic to our communities.

A major point of opposition to this idea was that we would attract visitors from adjacent communities whose beaches are closed. However, if we all implemented these rules consistently and simultaneously, I believe we could largely overcome these concerns.

My fear is that we are in this for the long haul and while our citizens may endure the beach closure for a few weeks, a few months may become very unpalatable.

So the question is: Are there any among you who would be willing to sponsor a consistent resolution in your county provided that all the counties from Bay to Escambia adopted consistent and simultaneous action? I am not seeking to poll your boards, just looking to determine if their are sponsors in every jurisdiction. Please reply if you are interested in being a sponsor with your thoughts on how the action should be shaped.

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY ALL.

Stay safe and please let me know if Okaloosa County can do anything to support you and your County in this difficult time.

My direct number is 582-2211 should you prefer a phone conversation.

Nathan D. Boyles
Commissioner, District 3
Okaloosa County.


4/15/20 4/16/20
6 p.m. 6 p.m. Increase
Total Cases 22519 23340 821 3.65%
Florida Residents 21865 22674 809 3.70%
Non-Fla. 654 666 12 1.83%
Deaths 614 668 54 8.79%
Escambia 261 277 16 6.13%
Okaloosa 107 117 10 9.35%
Santa Rosa 115 118 3 2.61%
Broward 3363 3466 103 3.06%
Esc LTC cases 49 52 3 6.12%

 


BY THE NUMBERS: CORONAVIRUS — THURSDAY EVENING EDITION

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Health released updated numbers Thursday evening about the coronavirus in the state. Here are some takeaways:

— 23,340: Total number of cases.

— 443: Increase in cases from a Thursday morning count.

— 668: Deaths of Florida residents.

— 35: Increase in deaths from a Thursday morning count.

— 1,454: Cases involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.

— 60: Increase in cases involving long-term care facilities from a Thursday morning count.

— 136: Deaths involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.

— 10: Increase in deaths involving long-term care facilities from a Thursday morning count.

— 83: Total cases in Suwannee County.

— 73: Suwannee County cases involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.

— 23: Total cases in Jefferson County.

— 18: Jefferson County cases involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.

Source: Florida Department of Health

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3 thoughts on “We’re baaaaaaack

  1. A new America. These days you get fired for telling the truth. Whistle blowers are prosecuted for being traitors. The tail is wagging the dog.

  2. So glad you’re back, Rick. Never a dull moment in this County with Gilley at the wheel.

    Interesting on the part about informing the commissioners of firing Mike Lowery ahead of time (what a shock–she’s nothing if not hamfisted). Hmm. I wonder which commissioners got informed when, and how? I wonder if all of them were aware of the decision before the plans were set?

    Not that some of them seem to care these days. Seems that our elected officials are for the most part just fine with sitting back and letting their current administrator run ripshod over staff, due process, and hiring and firing during special circumstances in ways that would have been met with swift–and possibly final–rebuke if a previous administrator had conducted himself in that fashion.

    And perhaps the “him” is operative here, as Gilley has painted this County into quite the gendered corner, no? Southern gallantry has no place in municipal governance, but I sense that some of the men who comprise our BOCC are at something of a loss with what to do about it when a woman goes on a power trip and increases her nepotism during a pandemic. 3 completely unnecessary, high-rent, checkered background hires and a high visibility termination in the first month of a state of emergency? Well done! Now that’s getting the most bang out of your covid buck. With the extra added bonus of big-time Underhill brownie points, which it seems she can’t get enough of.

    As far as the wee shack with a simple single case of covid out on the Beach–everyone in our community should be aware that it is a busy maintenance facility that has many people coming and going, backing up the heart of the commercial area, and back doored to many of the restaurants there. The little number that Janice Gilley and Laura Coale orchestrated as flippant “FYI” is the most dangerous piece of covid denying propaganda yet–which is saying something. Here are the messages the County Administrator and head of Communications want the citizens of Escambia to take home:

    (1) No taxpayers will be affected by this County staff member who has contracted covid (except the citizens that all of the staff who come and go from that facility come in contact with)
    (2) Sanitizing and closing the door contains this virus.
    (3) Don’t worry–the other employees aren’t symptomatic. (W.T.F.?)
    (4) Only one county staff member was overly scrupulous in deciding to take the choice to quarantine.
    (5) There is no mandated quarantining happening at the County. It’s all choice, and who knows what the pay is when that happens, if any.

    Make no mistake, if Janice Gilley is allowed to run unchecked with this dystopic decision making much longer, the impact that it will have on the health and welfare of her staff and the citizens of this County could be irreparable.

    Final thought: quit dithering around with politicizing quarantine possibilities for all County staff, Janice, but in particular our first responders. You’ve had more than enough time to try to figure out whose back you can scratch with any arrangements other than letting them take the free rooms at the Innisfree. And quit the veiled threats of siccing them with the gift policy if they wisely make use of it.

    I’d close with “shame on you,” but it was apparent to a lot of us some time ago that you don’t have any. So do enjoy your spree. Your boundless executive power won’t last forever.

    –Melissa Pino

  3. So, Mrs. Trump is running Escambia County. I thought the 5 Commissioners were in charge, oops,,I forgot, if one questions or disagrees with Trumpeeeees,,they get fired…It might be a good time to fire Trumpest Escambia County Administrator…

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