Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Outtakes 7/5/12

Functional Puffery For one more year, Escambia County, City of Pensacola, Emerald Coast Utility Authority and Escambia County School District dodged any meaningful discussion of functional consolidation.

There have been some minor acts such as the garage at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office taking care of others’ vehicles. However, talks about dispatch, IT, purchasing, code enforcement, and fire and police consolidations have gotten nowhere.

John Peacock, who served on the Escambia County Consolidation Commission, warned when Commissioner Wilson Robertson and others preached the virtues of functional consolidation over actual consolidation that the talk was only puffery. He was right.

“Taxes are going higher, services are going down,” Peacock said in a 2010 consolidation forum sponsored by WSRE. “I haven’t heard any elected officials offering up any other way to fix our government or our economy.”

Commissioner Robertson countered with the argument that the elected officials were the best ones to figure out how to consolidate and save money.  However, little has happened.

The 2010 consolidation plan was flawed. The public had no input in the final document, unlike the city of Pensacola’s new charter, and that doomed it. The consolidation commission was given an opportunity to stay in place, hammer out the details and possibly even recommend functions that could be merged, but hurt feelings prevailed and the body disbanded, leaving functional consolidation in the hands of the county commissioners, city council and other local elected officials.

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