‘I Am In Over My Head’ – New Century Interim Mayor Asks For Consultant To Help Run The Town

August 30, 2023

Newly appointed Century interim Mayor Luis Gomez, Jr. says he needs help to make sure he can properly run the town.

“I know that I am in over my head, but I don’t want the town of Century to suffer due to my lack of experience in this position,” Gomez told his town council a few minutes after he was sworn in Monday night.

Gomez asked the town council to consider contracting with consultant Robert Thompson of DeFuniak Springs, who he said was recommended by the Florida League of Cities.

During the approximate three months Gomez will serve as interim mayor until a permanent replacement is elected, Thompson would assist the town with day to day operations.

Thompson is a former assistant county manager of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He served as city manager in DeFuniak Springs from June 1, 2021, until he declined to renew his 18-month contract in December 2022.

“His credentials speak for themselves. He comes well advertised. He and I spoke a lot this week,” Gomez said. “I researched him, and he’s is top of the line. He can handle anything.”

Thompson declined to say how much he would charge for his services; he said that would be based upon a scope of work created by the town.

Presumably under the town charter’s bid requirements, the scope would become a request for proposals to be solicited from anyone interested.  The scope for a consultant will be discussed at the council’s September 5 meeting.

“I refuse to let the Town of Century falter due to my lack of experience in this position,” Gomez said.

Pictured top: Newly appointed Century interim Mayor Luis Gomez, Jr. asks his town council for help from a consultant to run the town. Pictured inset: Consultant Robert Thompson. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


42 Responses to “‘I Am In Over My Head’ – New Century Interim Mayor Asks For Consultant To Help Run The Town”

  1. Observer on September 7th, 2023 2:07 pm

    Why not find a mayor in a local successful town, that might provide advice when necessary–at a much lower cost. Or, what is the salary of the mayor? Perhaps deduct the fee from the salary of the interim mayor. Perhaps a more reasonable fee would be negotiated. OR, decide not to spend any of the grant money for 3 short months until someone competent is in place?
    Also, the company in which Mr. Thompson is a SR VP (Shewa Amhara) not much info is available that I can find. I believe it is a non profit in which a possible relative is President. Had a career with Department of Employment Services in DC. It also appears he will be the town manager in Texarkana Arkansas in the near future…Century is not really big enough to require paying $25,000 to someone from Washington D.C.

  2. Edward Best on September 6th, 2023 5:08 pm

    Critics run for office when the opening occurs! It appears you guys are omniscient! Perhaps you are exactly what Century needs!

  3. Caveman32565 on September 1st, 2023 7:36 pm

    He was over his head from day 1

  4. northofI10 on September 1st, 2023 9:33 am

    There are words you never want to hear for someone appointed to provide leadership. Although, the history seems to side with there were many over their heads when elected or appointed. All this and the citizens of Century suffer.

  5. JC on August 31st, 2023 7:52 pm

    Gomez is incompetent and he knew that and still let them swear him in (hell, he volunteered for the job knowing he didn’t know what he was doing, and almost the whole board just jumped at the chance to make another huge mistake). The absolute last thing I would do is let him hand pick his ‘assistant’.

    Century just keeps getting worse and worse.

  6. CJ Lewis on August 31st, 2023 7:09 pm

    From August 29th on NorthEscambia.com, “”Gomez told his fellow council members that he was interested in the appointment to interim mayor.” Gomez should be made to explain why he wanted the job for which he said he is not qualified. One way out of this mess would be for the council to appoint Gomez to be the interim councilmember back in his prior council seat. Then the council could appoint an interim mayor able to do the job. In addition to one of the prior mayors as possibilities, there must be multiple business owners in Century who also live in the town and would do the job. In March 2020, Thompson was appointed as one of two assistant county managers in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. (There is no Las Cruces County as described above. I’ve been there many times. Las Cruces is the county seat of Dona Ana County.) Nothing here or later describes how long Thompson lasted in New Mexico or why he left or was fired or asked to leave. He then showed up in DeFuniak Springs in June 2021 as the city manager on an 18-month contract paid $109,000 with $40,000 in benefits. By the time he left in December 2022, Thompson was being paid $126,000 + benefits. Some council members and citizens raised concerns. The council did not offer to extend Thompson’s 18-month contract. The council did offer to give Thompson a six-month extension described in one media account as a probationary term. Thompson asked for certain provisions to be put into the six-month contract to include a severance package. DeFuniak Springs balked. A local media outlet reported, “He and the commissioners [councilmembers] could not agree on terms for an extension.” Above we read that Thompson says he “declined to renew his 18-month contact in December.” In truth, Thompson would not accept the six-month extension offered with a $126,000 annual salary + benefits. The title of a local media report seems to tell the true story, “DeFuniak Springs City Manager will not extend contact.” On November 29, 2022, Thompson announced that he was leaving. On December 1st, DeFuniak Springs dual-hatted the director of public works as the interim city manager. In January 2023, DeFuniak Springs hired a new city manager himself still legally designated as “interim.” The media should factcheck everything said by Gomez and Thompson to include that he “was recommended by the Florida League of Cities.” It’s number is (800) 222-9684.

  7. Holding out for hope on August 31st, 2023 5:52 pm

    I’m not sure I understand how anyone can be in over their head in such a small, insignificant town like Century. What is so complicated about it? The water is not even deep enough to reach your ankles!

    Water, sewer, gas, streets, a park or two, making sure revenue matches expenditures, employee supervision, and administrative functions/documentation (clerk).

    There is no responsibility for building inspection, permitting, code enforcement, policing, fire, traffic management.

    Okay, a grants coordinator is likely needed, but only as a consultant, not an employee.

    If having a Century government is so important to the residents, then everyone put your heads together, talk to the Florida League of Cities, and get your act together.

  8. Holding out for hope on August 31st, 2023 5:26 pm

    The only hope Century has is to become a quaint, cozy college town.

    Uh, oh well. Since that won’t happen, there is no hope.

  9. tg on August 31st, 2023 3:39 pm

    If you are going to miss meetings you do need a back-up.

  10. Kane on August 31st, 2023 1:47 pm

    That towns been running without a functioning mayor for years now 3 months won’t hurt it anymore then it has already been hurt. Hiring an obviously expensive “consultant” will. Appointing an interim mayor was unnecessary they should just close the council until a new mayor is elected in 3 short months no one is going anywhere in Century any time soon.

    Now the new mayor may need some consultants as that town’s problems have problems…….

  11. Sedition on August 31st, 2023 11:09 am

    Who here would go under the knife for brain surgery by a foot doc who admits he is “in over his head”?

  12. Stephen on August 30th, 2023 7:54 pm

    I would ask why he willingly accepted the job if he couldn’t do it but looking back, the same could be said for every Century mayor.

  13. straightshooter on August 30th, 2023 7:50 pm

    Jim Stanton, you are correct. They ran a good man off, now want to hire someone outside to do his job. Gomez wanted this job, now admits he doesn’t know how to do it..

  14. ed on August 30th, 2023 5:51 pm

    Is this cross training

  15. Shaking My Head on August 30th, 2023 3:45 pm

    So Mr. Gomez want to get paid for having the job title of mayor but wants the city to foot the bill for someone else to actually do the work of the mayor AND he thinks that the people of Century will be okay with that. Of course, the council will vote yes. They all seem to bow to him for some reason—all except one member. One of the most important parts of the job is reading and comprehension. So is this guy Thompson just going to read and explain everything to Gomez. I’m thinking it might be cheaper to hire a reading coach/tutor.

  16. same ol' same ol' on August 30th, 2023 2:22 pm

    Corruption?… not so fast. One of the reasons government grows bigger (more expensive). People get elected/appointed/hired, but don’t want to do the actual work.
    …So they hire someone to do it.

  17. Well on August 30th, 2023 12:54 pm

    Have to remember there was a Mr. Prather hired awhile back as a consultant/manager type person.

  18. David Huie Green on August 30th, 2023 12:26 pm

    How hard could it possibly be?
    Everyone in Century has a firm reputation for getting along.
    Okay well maybe not a good reputation of getting along.
    So maybe it is a little bit hard.

    Lots of luck.

  19. Ed on August 30th, 2023 12:00 pm

    Well this is ridiculous if you can’t do the which I know you can’t do the town a favor quit and go home take the rest of counsilwbere with you

  20. Anne on August 30th, 2023 11:56 am

    Hummmm, wonder if Luis Gomez and Robert Thompson are somehow related or are friends, friends-of-friends or what the Link might be?
    How did he just seemingly pull Thompson out of his magic hat?
    Gotta be much more here than meets the eye.
    Mr. Thompson, if you were indeed hiding your face from the cameras in the meeting, why would you do that? Hard to not be noticed when you wear the same clothes.
    Perhaps, Mr Thompson, you were in astonishment at the MESS you have jumped into.

  21. IMHO on August 30th, 2023 11:56 am

    Highly recommended? Research this guy. I read this in a DeFuniak Springs article about Mr Thompson. “DeFuniak Springs City Manager will not extend contract. Several citizens said they were concerned with Thompson’s performance as city manager.” Typical Century politics.

  22. William Reynolds on August 30th, 2023 11:12 am

    “Were the sunshine laws broken by Gomez in speaking with this man before hand and not in front of the rest of the council and the public.”

    Not at all. The Sunshine Law would prevent two council members from discussing town business outside a public meeting (not in the “sunshine”). But it would not prevent a council member from speaking to a potential consultant or most anyone else outside a meeting.

  23. Citizen on August 30th, 2023 10:57 am

    Great News!

  24. OhYouKnow on August 30th, 2023 10:34 am

    Were the sunshine laws broken by Gomez in speaking with this man before hand and not in front of the rest of the council and the public. This all was preplanned.

    “His credentials speak for themselves. He comes well advertised. He and I spoke a lot this week,” Gomez said. “I researched him, and he’s is top of the line. He can handle anything.”

  25. Swamp Gas on August 30th, 2023 9:09 am

    I was wrong yesterday when I said the man in the suit was hiding his face so he didn’t witness the train wreck. As it turns out he is the conductor.

  26. tg on August 30th, 2023 9:07 am

    They had what was suspose to be the best of Gulf Breeze and he couldnt make it work. This was planned dont fall for it.

  27. Swamp Gas on August 30th, 2023 9:02 am

    The town of Century was the inspiration for the TV series Schitt’s Creek

  28. catman on August 30th, 2023 8:53 am

    Yep that’s the same man covering his face in the other story on the swearing in. Seems he could at least wore a different suit and tie. Some thing seems a little fishy to me.

  29. Karen on August 30th, 2023 8:52 am


  30. Bewildered on August 30th, 2023 8:45 am

    All these comments don’t amount to a thing. In all probability hiring the guy from Defuniak Springs is already a done deal. People don’t realize that their wishes and opinions don’t matter. Once an elected officials takes over the reigns, they do as they please. Sadly, it always means that they are out to feather their own nests.

  31. Just saying on August 30th, 2023 8:40 am

    This was already planed. That man Robert Thompson was at the town meeting. That’s why he covered his face when a picture was taken. Same tie color and suit don’t lie.The town of Century is being bamboozle by Gomez. Please wake up Century residents and go to these meeting before you loose your town to county. Then you will be paying huge bills to pay off the debt of all the money that Gomez will be throwing out to cover himself because he doesn’t know the first thing to do. After sitting at that table with council members all these years and he still doesn’t know a thing,oh what a shame.

  32. NavyDave on August 30th, 2023 8:36 am

    I know there’s a writer’s strike going on in Hollywood, but once that is over-they’re really missing out if someone doesn’t do a reality show based on the shenanigans in that town. The episodes would write themselves!

  33. Jim Stanton on August 30th, 2023 8:12 am

    NO, to any consultant, Gomez and Lewis are the two main ones to run a good mayor off. It’s time for the most incompetent town council that has ever been seated in Century to step down, every one of them. Gomez if you need a consultant, pay for him with your dime, not with the citizens of Century money, or do the right thing and step down since you have admitted you don’t know what you are doing.

  34. Century the laughing Stock of Escambia county on August 30th, 2023 8:02 am

    Seriously how much longer can everyone turn a blind eye to Century. On this emergency ballot the citizens need to consider disbanding the city government. I believe the county would be able to provide more resources to improve this area.Its time to say goodbye to the ineffective leadership which is costing you daily. The cost are going to be in taxes , mismanagement of funds,and most of all your town dignity. It is a shame that your so called elected officials want a consultant. It is a shame a man who has no idea wants to pass the ball to someone who is not even in this area. I say DISBAND and let the county take over. Just maybe you will be able to find the needed repairs to your infrastructure and have support for your town. Right now everyone is laughing at you and your towns leadership.

  35. Thomas Paine on August 30th, 2023 7:53 am

    The current town leadership is Uncommonly incompetent….the acting mayor’s mantra should be “spend spend spend” this was a scripted plan to run off a decent mayor and replace him in what amounts to a third world coup by a would
    be despot.

  36. SW on August 30th, 2023 7:30 am

    @oh you know and @just curious

    I believe it is!

    Good catch.

    Something fishy?

  37. I need my burgers on August 30th, 2023 7:26 am

    As long as the Whataburger stays open.

  38. OhYouKnow on August 30th, 2023 7:16 am

    Is Mr. Robert Thompson of DeFuniak Springs the gentleman who was hiding his face in yesterdays articles picture? Hmmmm…..

  39. We have been bamboozled on August 30th, 2023 5:45 am

    A consultant ??? Wait a minute, before he took the seat, didn’t he say…
    “If ya’ll want me to take that seat, I’ll take that seat,” … “I am confident that the town will benefit from me being in that seat, and I’ll go from there.” ???
    Now you’re admitting that you in fact do not know how to do the job “I am in over my head” and you want to hire an expensive consultant to now teach you how to do it. Sounds like you lied on your resume and got the job anyway. You mean to tell Us…you’ve been sitting in that council seat for 6 years and you have learned nothing?
    Where does Century get the money to pay this consultant? It sounds like you’re doing exactly what you accused Mr. Boutwell of doing, misusing Town funds… Mr. Gomez make it make sense!!

  40. Denbroc on August 30th, 2023 4:55 am

    If one were to write a book about this entire mess, Barnes and Noble would want to carry it in the fiction section.

  41. SW on August 30th, 2023 2:59 am

    Oh, for Pete’s sake.

    This is pathetic. This person has failed before even starting. They ran Ben off for this?

    A consultant? Seriously?

    The town is failed. Pull the charter, sell assets, shut it down.

  42. Just curious on August 30th, 2023 2:04 am

    In the photos of the swearing in one man has his hand over his face, presumably so his picture wouldn’t be taken.

    Now we know who he is.