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New Escambia County Commissioners Sworn In

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  Two Escambia County Commissioners, one new and one incumbent, were sworn into office Tuesday. The ceremony also included a change of leadership on the panel.

Outgoing Chairman Lumon May kicked off the special meeting by thanking everyone who has helped him out, during his year with the gavel.

“That have helped me to have a somewhat successful chairmanship,” said May. “Without you guys, without this great team, I would have failed.”

The chairmanship of the County Commission rotates among the five members, who each serve for one year. May succeeded Commissioner Gene Valentino, who was defeated for re-election in the August Republican primary by new 2nd District Commissioner Doug Underhill. He compared the relationship between elected officials and their constituents to an organizational chart, adding that the mission didn’t end on Election Day.

“So when we talk about democracy and the way that org chart works, we need to put as much effort and energy into running this county as we did into that campaign,” Underhill said.

Also taking the oath, for his third term on the BOCC representing District-4, was Grover Robinson. Those gathered for the ceremony heard his praise for the residents in his district.

“I think they understood that eight years ago we came to this room and said, ‘You know, we could be something better. We could be a statewide leader in Escambia County,’” said Robinson, who is also the new President of the Florida Association of Counties. “We have great people, we can do great things, and we have done that.”

In his final act as Commission Chairman Lumon May, who has two more years in his term from District-3, offered his thanks to Commissioners Doug Underhill and Grover Robinson.

“Many times people say, ‘Why would you want to serve in elected office?’” said May. “You make some people mad, you make some people happy and you go through so much scrutiny, why would you serve? It’s because you care. And that’s what I heard in both of you today.”

Then it was time for May to relinquish the chairmanship to District-5’s Steven Berry.

“The goodwill starts at the very top and I guess this is as good as it gets,” Berry said. “Hopefully, ya’ll will enjoy my period of service to you.”

Next door, Tuesday was also swearing-in day for three Santa Rosa County Commissioners – new member Rob Williamson in District-4, and holdovers Jayer Williamson in District-1 and District-2’s Bob Cole. Commissioner Don Salter was appointed Chairman.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.