chamber board chairman: Appointed superintendent provides opportunity to move escambia county forward
Appointed Superintendent Provides Opportunity to Move Escambia County Forward
By Stephen R. Moorhead, Chamber Board Chairman
During this election, voters in Escambia County have a unique opportunity to change the way the District’s Superintendent of Schools is hired. This opportunity presents a window to bring our County into the modern age and thus better serve area businesses in meeting their employment needs and our economic development partners in attracting new industry to our area. Rather than electing the superintendent, we can appoint one after a nationwide search. The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors endorsed this proposal at our latest meeting.
In today’s business world, employers look for the most capable workers, no matter where they live and this is particularly true with leadership roles. Certainly, our students deserve the opportunity to have the most effective administrator leading them. Under the current system of electing our school superintendent, Escambia County has an extremely limited pool to choose from. We are a County of 320,000 people, most of whom have no experience with running a $600 million operation with 40,000 clients. Yet, we are limiting ourselves to hiring from only within Escambia County, since the only requirement for superintendent is that the person reside in the County.
The opportunity to hire someone who has a proven track record of creating academic success is attractive to the business community. In endorsing the Escambia County School District Referendum, the Chamber’s Board of Directors acknowledges the school district faces challenges, which significantly impact the business community from the standpoint of attracting new industry, as well as, providing a qualified workforce for local businesses. The Chamber’s Board Members believe that a nationwide search to select the most qualified person to lead the school district would provide the best results.
So, when you’re filling out your ballot, we urge you to give our children the benefit of a proven leader by voting for an appointed school superintendent.
On the next edition of the toddcast, Clay Ingram and Todd Thomson Discuss the chamber's support of certain amendments.
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to endorse four proposals on the 2018 ballot. On this special Toddcast, Chamber President/CEO Clay Ingram joins Todd to discuss the proposals and what impact these initiatives would have on our local economy.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. Find out how much money local candidates have raised and how they are spending their campaign dollars with latest campaign finance reports. Click here.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors moved closer to approving $56 million for the Pensacola Airport’s Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) project. The board spent about an hour and a half discussing the complicated nature of the agreements and actually had to take a recess, so counsel could review and answer questions raised by board members.
One issue that caused some heartburn among board members was that the entire $56 million commitment for the MRO project would have to come from the initial $300 million payment that has been made from BP. The board initially wanted to structure the agreement where payments would be made over a number of years and from future payments that will be made by BP. However, the Triumph board received legal word that committing funds from future payments to current projects was not allowed. Thus, the full $56 million (or 18.6%) of the initial $300 million would be dedicated to this one project.
One item that brought some confusion was the claw-back provision of the project. Board member Jason Shoaf asked if a company may have to pay three different times for an individual job that doesn’t get filled. The board went into recess while legal counsel from Triumph and the City of Pensacola discussed the concern. It was agreed that ST-MAE would pay roughly $42,000/job for any shortfall in jobs created over a three-year period. Each year has a distinct goal with the final objective of 1,350 jobs filled at the end of the three years.
A final sticking point that needed to be worked out was the time table for signing the “term-sheet” with ST-MAE. A term-sheet is not a legal, binding document but it is an understanding of the financial terms and timelines agreed to between the two parties. Triumph Chairman Don Gaetz stated that he wanted the term sheet signed by VT-MAE within 72 hours of the board agreeing to the terms. City of Pensacola consultant Dave Penzone addressed the board requesting more time to get the document signed. After some discussion, the board agreed to give the city a week to return the term sheet.
The Triumph grant is contingent on the city finalizing funding from all sources by the end of 2018. It was stated at the meeting that the city is currently five million dollars short of the funding they need. There will be two separate agreements signed by Triumph, one with the City of Pensacola and one with VT-MAE.
The board also discussed moving forward following Hurricane Michael. The consensus among the board members was that the affected counties may need to go back and reprioritize their projects. The board is going to give these counties time to asses their needs and resubmit their priorities when appropriate.
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced its support for three proposed Florida Constitutional Amendments and endorsed the ballot initiative calling for the appointment of the Superintendent of Schools in Escambia County.
“Our board considered these issues carefully and concluded that passage of these proposals will have a positive impact on the business environment in Escambia County,” stated Chamber Board Chairman Steve Moorhead. “We wholeheartedly support these initiatives and encourage the business community to vote for them in November.”
The Greater Pensacola Chamber Board endorsed the following proposals:
Amendment 2: Makes permanent the cap of 10 percent on annual non-homestead parcel assessment increases set to expire on January 1, 2019. The cap does not apply to school district taxes. Properties considered non-homestead parcels include non-homestead residential properties, such as second homes and rental apartments, and nonresidential property, such as commercial property and vacant land.
Amendment 7: Requires death benefits for first responders and military members, a supermajority vote for college fee increases, and adds the state college system structure to the constitution.
Amendment 9: Bans offshore drilling for oil and natural gas on lands beneath all state waters and bans the use of vapor-generating electronic devices in enclosed indoor workplaces.
Escambia County School District Referendum: Shall the Superintendent of Schools of Escambia County, Florida be appointed by the School Board of Escambia County, Florida?
In endorsing the Escambia County School District Referendum, the Chamber Board of Directors acknowledges that school district faces challenges which significantly impact the business community from the standpoint of attracting new industry as well as providing a qualified workforce for local businesses. The Chamber Board’s members believe that a nationwide search to select the most qualified person to lead the school district, would provide the best results.
Have a small business and need some help from an expert? Then hear how the Florida Small Business Development Center can help you on the latest Toddcast. Kelly Massey with SBDC explains all the free resources available to you and your business to give you the edge you need.