Six Candidates In The Running For Escambia County Administrator

April 12, 2019

There are six names on list of candidates to be interviewed for the Escambia County administrator position. They are:

  1. Craig Coffey from Flagler Beach, FL. County administrator in Flagler County from 2007-2019, has 20 years experience as a city/county manager with extensive Florida county government experience and 11 years additional local government experience.
  2. Patrick Thompson from Woodbury, MN. County administrator in St. Croix County, WI. Over 36 years local government experience.
  3. David Strahl from O’Fallon, MO. County administrator in City of O’Fallon, MO. 30 plus years local government administration experience, none in county government.
  4. Christopher Martin from Gulf Breeze. He served as the commanding officer of Pensacola Naval Air Station and spent 27 years in the Navy.
  5. Janice Gilley from Molino. She has held the position of vice president of External Affairs at the University of West Florida for 10 years. She served one year as the national policy director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, one year as deputy chief of staff for the Florida House of Representatives and served as policy director and deputy policy director for year in the Executive Office of the Governor in Florida. She served as an Escambia County commissioner from 2002-2004.
  6. Cedric Alexander from Pensacola. He has 13 years government experience including deputy chief in the Office of the Mayor in Rochester, NY, public safety director in Dekalb County, GA, and a federal security director for the Department of Homeland Security.

Coffey, Thompson and Strahl were on a list compiled by the Florida Association of County Managers, hired by the county for $5,000 to create a short list from the 120 plus applicants

Michael Renshaw from Winder, Georgia, was the third name on the original list but pulled his name from consideration on Thursday after watching a BOCC Committee of the Whole meeting. In an email he said:

“I had an opportunity to view the live meeting of the Committee of the Whole this morning (April 11) pertaining to the County Administrator selection process. Please withdraw my name from any further consideration in this process. I wish you well in your future endeavors, and please extend my thanks to the members of FACM. If possible please advise your local media of my decision to withdraw as soon as possible, and confirm your receipt of this email.”

Renshaw was a county administrator in Barrow County, Georgia with nine years local government administration experience.

On Thursday, commissioners added Martin, Gilley and Alexander to the list. If they add any more candidates, they should be named by April 16.

The commission plans to interview candidates on April 29. Commissioners will meet individually with candidates one-on-one before conducting interviews in a public meeting.

Kenneth Griffin from Williamsburg, Virginia, was an alternate on the original list and withdrew his name after he accepted another position. He is a consultant and principal engineer at a private firm with five years experience as an assistant county administrator in Hillsborough County, FL.


10 Responses to “Six Candidates In The Running For Escambia County Administrator”

  1. ALEX on April 16th, 2019 3:03 pm

    go local, they know more about what is going on then the others and they care about their home, the others just want a job. you see what happened with the fire chief dude when we brought in an unknow.

  2. Melissa Pino on April 15th, 2019 11:55 am

    Dear Northescambia,

    I’ve seen posted in the comments section of various places the idea that the County is in imminent danger of the State shutting down our entire EMT services.

    The idea is, I hope, implausible, as I can’t imagine the State or the Dept of Health would allow such a grave public safety danger for the citizens of Escambia County.

    Melissa Pino

  3. Melissa Pino on April 14th, 2019 10:12 pm

    Dear Northescambia,

    Comment by “Mike” on the EMS situation:

    “The extent of the current investigations are more serious than they understand. The state can easily come in and shut down EMS and/or the Medical director can leave and there will be no ambulances to show up to your house.”

    I am struggling to understand how the State would make a decision to cut off all EMS in Escambia County.

    While I do understand that there are serious challenges, and that an investigation that has now been sadly hamstrung by an unethical leak could nevertheless still manage to result in important results, I simply can’t understand how the State would resolve to cut off all EMS services in Escambia County.

    Perhaps there is something I’m not understanding that Mike could clarify, per State statute, explaining how this investigation could result in a chaotic health crisis for Escambia County. I’m sure that the Florida Dept of Health would have some interest in that outcome, also. Interested to hear the specifics.

    Thank you,

    Melissa Pino

  4. Wise Years on April 14th, 2019 2:58 pm

    We have had people who had specific educational background in city/county management. It’s very important not to just bring in someone because they are from “out of town”, and please don’t bring in someone from N.Y. or Chicago. Those places haven’t had any good people in several generations. Look at the messes they have with democrat/socialism. It COULD happen here.

  5. Mike on April 14th, 2019 8:25 am

    Oh course the Commissioners would pick their own candidates so we can be in the same situation we are in now. The extent of the current investigations are more serious than they understand. The state can easily come in and shut down EMS and/or the Medical director can leave and there will be no ambulances to show up to your house. Yet they continue to just hide the truth and beat around the bush. This county is headed no where but down.
    As for the fire department hopefully they will put more thought into those issues before there is another fire similar to the ones in west Pensacola where lives were lost in Beulah. But wait we can not be proactive only reactive! This has been proven! Also remove the current acting County administrator!

  6. Bob C. on April 13th, 2019 2:24 pm

    We viewed the replay of the recent BoCC Committee of a Whole.
    Agreed before it started that we’d not make comments during the showing and managed to do so, it wasn’t easy.
    Lots of individuals sitting there making decisions for We the People who elected them. Several of them were so busy patting themselves on the back they will need rotary cuff repairs. Others seemed to be in thoughtful contemplation remaining somewhat silent.
    Following the “performances” we concluded that none of us would want to be part of the esteemed and Honorable persons representing us as Our Commissioners.
    Hopefully someone with a skin of armor can be selected for the job. And what a job it will be.
    Hats off to our former County Administrators, you sure put up with a lot for US, Thank You.

  7. Melissa Pino on April 12th, 2019 11:15 pm

    Dear Northescambia,

    When this search began, I was of the firm opinion that the best thing for Escambia County was to conduct a deep and wide national search that might have the result of the best candidate having a fresh pair of eyes, different customary practices, and strong background in agility reorganization.

    The paramaters of need for Escambia County have shifted since the official search began, however.

    With crucial administration roles to fill and with multiple official investigations ongoing, on both the State and County level, my opinion has also shifted. It seems a clear need to advance a local candidate who will not require a 6-month to 1-year learning curve on Escambia practices, logistics, and politics.

    While FAC performed their selection with due dilgence, and operated ethically and judiciously within the prescribed needs provided to them by Escambia County, unfortunately those needs seem to have altered substantially.

    I personally have no preference among the local candidates mentioned, and although I don’t know any of them personally, a thorough check into their respective backgrounds demonstrates that we would be lucky to have any of the three.

    Our BOCC, to my mind, responded responsibility to the changing needs of the County in adding local candidates to the list. That said, the backgrounds of the remaining FAC candidates are also impressive and deserve respect. So let the best man or woman win.

    I’m thankful that the BOCC took a course that they knew would bring them scrutiny, It’s not always fun to do the right and judicious thing by considering all options and paradigms and not being afraid to change course.

    Melissa Pino

  8. Chuck on April 12th, 2019 12:19 pm

    Wasn’t Janice Gilley a County Commissioner 2002-2004?

  9. 429SCJ on April 12th, 2019 11:43 am

    I am of the opinion that Miz Gilly is the best overall fit.

  10. Anne on April 12th, 2019 10:30 am

    Mr. Michael Renshaw, it appears you have made a very wise choice. Best Wishes to you and your family/friends in the future.
    His words and withdrawal speak volumes, toss in the mess of Public Safety and the general dissent of certain BoCC members.
    Really who wants to take on a job where there are too many bosses pushing in different directions?

    Hopefully, the search for a new Superintendent of Schools will go more smoothly.

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