Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday September 17th 2019


Winners & Losers 9/12/19

Martha Saunders
The University of West Florida president has been awarded a contract extension through the end of the 2020 calendar year. A Board of Governors’ regulation put in place in 2017 limits contract extensions or renewals for presidents of academic institutions to one year after the initial three-year agreement. The Board of Governors unanimously approved the one-year extension on Thursday, Aug. 29. Dr. Saunders took office as the sixth president of UWF in January of 2017. She signed a three-year contract at a base salary of $333,125. In her new agreement, the Trustees approved raising her pay to $405,000 in 2020.

Scott Lunsford
The Florida Tax Collectors Association (FTCA) presented the Escambia County Tax Collector with the Legacy Award for Continued Excellence in Financial Operations at the Fall Education Forum in Orlando. The award recognizes offices that have achieved innovation, customer focus, a well-managed budget and a clean audit in finance operations. The award is given only to those tax collectors previously recognized with the Excellence in Finance Operations Award.

Doug Baldwin, Jr.
In an era when so many people, not just pro athletes, are afraid to discuss mental health issues, the retired NFL wide receiver and Pensacola native last week tweeted, “Nobody wants to talk about it, but I wish more people did. I have been, and I still am seeing a therapist, and I don’t know where I’d be without it. To anybody who is on the fence about therapy, don’t underestimate the value of your mental health.” Thank you, Doug.

Mike Hill
Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva has removed Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola, from the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee. Hill drew bipartisan criticism after Inweekly reported that he laughed this spring when asked if he could file legislation that would impose the death penalty for men who have affairs with other men. The exchange was condemned in a joint statement by Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, and Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican who is slated to become House speaker after the 2020 elections. Hill later texted the House GOP leaders, “You should have called me before you joined the mob.” Don’t expect much from Rep. Hill in the 2020 session.

Ron DeSantis
The governor of Florida has yet to appoint a replacement for ECUA District 3 representative Elvin McCorvey, who passed away last January. One-fifth of Escambia County is left without a voice while critical decisions are made regarding the utility.

Step Up for Students
Florida’s largest K-12 scholarship funding organization put at risk assistance to more than 500 students with special needs ahead of the 2018-2019 school year because staff members made a “processing error” involving enrollment documentation, a Florida auditor general report found. The audit, issued at the end of August, said special-needs students who were eligible for awards under the Gardiner Scholarship Program saw a delay in funding due to the error by the organization Step Up for Students. The glitch affected 583 students before it was fixed.