Gulf Breeze Mayor Pro Tem Tom Naile

Gulf Breeze News – January 21, 2021

“I view with alarm.” During my service in the United States Navy, if you ever read those words coming down from the Admiral, you knew it meant something was dangerously wrong and needed to be corrected immediately.

I think it is time for the citizens of Santa Rosa County — the Admirals, so to speak, of all elected officials — to “view with alarm” the workings of the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners.

In just a couple of short months, the Commission has overridden its zoning board on a key issue and fired the county attorney without notice. In both cases, it was done recklessly and without regard for proper procedures, with the new chairman leading the charge.

In the matter of the Zoning Board, it is clear from the public record that the Board last fall carefully considered the pros and cons before recommending against a change to the County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The change would allow a borrow-pit mine to expand operations into a sensitive wellfield. This decision could endanger the water supply for 100,000 people. The three north county commissioners, however, rejected the warnings of the Zoning Board and the appeals of their southern commission colleagues. And now, it appears they are willing to go AWOL in their duty to the entire county and allow this new mining.

In another alarming move, the Commission

Chairman — without any warning or public discussion of the reasons — led the firing of the county attorney during a commission meeting. There was no prior notice and the issue was not even mentioned on the agenda. How is that possible? The commission clearly overstepped their legal bounds.

Every Santa Rosan should “view with alarm” these two moves. Something is dangerously wrong with the work of our County Commission. I urge my fellow Santa Rosans to watch closely, get involved, go to meetings, contact your commissioners and hold them accountable. This ship needs to be righted.

Tom Naile is Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Gulf Breeze and its appointee to the Fairpoint Regional Utility System.