I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

48th Coffee with the Commissioner Event Tomorrow Morning!

Tomorrow morning we will have our 48th Coffee with the Commissioner event live on Facebook.

We will be having County Administrator Janice Gilley, Escambia Emergency Manager Eric Gilmore, and Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford on the live-stream.

We will get an update on the Coronavirus from both Janice Gilley and Eric Gilmore--and then we will discuss the upcoming primary and general elections slated for August 18th and November 3rd respectively.  Specifically, I'll be asking Mr. Stafford how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the elections this year and what is being done to ensure safe and accessible elections this year.

Should be a very interesting conversation.

To join the event live Wednesday morning, simply go to

"See You" online this Wednesday!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Escambia Employee Salary Database Goes Live

As of today--the total wages paid yearly  to every employee of Escambia County (already an often requested public record) is available for citizens to search in a newly established database that went live today.   

The state of Florida has a website where citizens can search for the total compensation for any state employee---because this data is a public record and citizens have the right to know.

The salaries of the public employees of local governments are also a public record.

We often receive public records requests for this information on specific employees.

But if the state can publish a searchable database--why can't the county?

Answer: we can.  And now we are.

As a part of my NEXT4Escambia plan--a strategy position paper I have developed for addressing specific issues over the next four years that I have written based upon public input---this very sort of an open, searchable salary database initiative was a major component!

I brought it forward to the administrator, the idea was socialized with my counterparts, and ----voila---here it is.  Glad we got it done.

Now, citizens do not have to ask permission to see the total wages paid to any Escambia County Employee--they just need to go here--and look it up for themselves.  They can peruse all of the salaries or just look for specific individuals.

It is important that citizens know what we pay our employees, because we treat our employees well and they are well compensated with good pay and generous benefits.  Often times an employee's total wages paid will greatly exceed what an "hourly rate" might otherwise indicate.  So folks need to look at this. 

Surprisingly--we have dozens of job openings in multiple departments that we have had a tough time filling.  I tell folks that working for the county, you'll never get rich--but if start out and stick with it and make it a career--you will have excellent benefits and a pension and if you stick it out you can have a great retirement!

NOTE:--this database indicates total wages paid per the FISCAL year, not calendar year.

I am going to request that the IT folks also add a "date of hire" column to the database, as I feel this will be a good addition to add some context to the salary information (e.g. is the employee "new" or a "journeyman")

Commissioner May asked if we could add a column for employee race and sex, and I believe that is in the works as well.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

On WCOA Morning Show: Masks, COVID-19, Pensacola Beach, Air Show--lots of Topics Covered....

I was interviewed yesterday on WCOA's Good Morning Pensacola on the topic of COVID-19, The July 4th Weekend and rumors of Beach Closings, and the hot button topic of the push by some to make mask wearing mandatory in Escambia County.

We had a good discussion on these and other timely, relevant topics of current interest.

You can hear the recording of this interview here

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hospital Directors Urge Escambia County Commissioners to Act on Masks in Public

I'll be speaking with them tomorrow morning on my Coffee with the Commissioner meeting--but meanwhile the CEO's of Escambia County's 3 Main Hospitals and the Executive Director of Community Health NW have sent this below request to the BCC members late this afternoon....

Saturday, June 27, 2020

To Mask, or Not to Mask!

That is the question........

And now, I am getting it from both directions.  "Make Masks Mandatory!" is the flavor from one side.

"Don't take away our Freedom--don't make masks mandatory!" is what I am hearing from the other side.

Meanwhile--the Escambia Board of County Commissioners does NOT have this for action at our upcoming meeting--(although it may be brought before the board as an "add-on" by a member.....)

Meanwhile, here is an example of a thoughtful back and forth email exchange between a constituent and I on this topic from this morning............intelligent, thoughtful, respectful, cordial, un-emotional..

"Mr. Bergosh,

Usually I write to you about XXXXXX. But tonight I am writing to you as someone retired from healthcare. Forty three years actually.  Thirty three of those running a clinical laboratory.  I have been through Aids, Ebola, Swine flu, and many other similar outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics.  So I am very familiar with what the right thing to do is regarding curbing the rising infections.  

 Mayor Robinson should be commended for implementing mandatory masks.   While our Governor and President do nothing.

The Governor's statement the other day stating people will just need to do the right thing stunned me. Well if people always did the right thing we wouldn't need laws.  It could even be said we wouldn't be in the middle of a pandemic if people did the right thing.  How many laws have been passed to protect people from themselves?  Wearing seat belts, no texting and driving, no drinking and name a few.

I ask you and the other commissioners to please follow Mayor Robinson's lead.  Make face masks mandatory in Escambia county. There is absolutely no reason a business should have to shut down if only everyone would social distance and wear masks in public places.  South Korea and Japan are excellent examples of that.


My response:


Thank you for the email, and I cannot wait until XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!

About the mask wearing:  There have been rumors circulating about The Escambia Board of County Commissioners making mask wearing mandatory—however this has not been brought forward onto our next agenda for July 2nd by either the staff or the chairman Steven Barry.  I understand the city has gone that direction (mandatory mask wearing).

Nevertheless----I am studying all sides of this topic in the event it does come before us as an add on to the agenda.  Full disclosure—I am getting PASSIONATE pleas on both sides of this issue so I am going to look at this particular issue very analytically—not emotionally.

To help with my decision making—I will have a special “Coffee with the Commissioner” event this Wednesday morning online on my Facebook site from 6:30-7:30 AM.  My guests will be the CEO’s of all three local hospitals—Baptist, Sacred Heart, and West Florida.  They know I will come prepared with questions for them about the wear/don’t wear masks in public question—as well as other issues about capacity in their respective hospitals and ventilator and ICU capacity.  It will be a worthwhile watch this Wednesday morning if you are available.  It will be live on my commissioner’s Facebook page here

One issue that stands out initially and immediately to me is the fact that nobody is wearing masks properly—and nobody is specifying what types of masks should be worn.  They should be single-use---and the surgical masks I see folks wearing are not masks that protect the wearer from COVID-19-----it says so right on the box packaging.  Yet I see folks wearing these very same ineffective disposable masks over and over and over—placing them on the rear-view mirror then re-using them again and again—touching the contaminated masks then touching their faces as well as common use items in the grocery stores, retail stores, playground equipment, door-handles etc.  This behavior worries me—because I believe this actually exacerbates—not

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(This is not my campaign website, my campaign website can be found at . However, some issues of a political nature and specifically dealing with my election may also be discussed on this blog between now and the primary election on August 18th--thus the mandatory disclaimer above)