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Santa Rosa County Administrator Dan Schebler Resigns

Dan Schebler
Santa Rosa County
Santa Rosa County
Dan Schebler, Santa Rosa County administrator, will leave his job this fall.

Santa Rosa County Administrator Dan Schebler announced Tuesday night he is leaving his job in 90 days.

The announcement was made via email from the county at 9 p.m. during a commission meeting that lasted nearly nine hours.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the board, the citizens and dedicated staff of Santa Rosa County as their administrator,” Schebler said in the email. “I appreciate the trust and confidence the board gave me and am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to work with so many dedicated public servants, engaged citizens and community groups that are committed to excellence in service to our county.”

During a break at Tuesday’s marathon meeting, Schebler added that his time with the county was a success.

“I am proud of all we accomplished as a team during my tenure,” he said, before returning to his seat at the commission meeting.

Schebler’s decision clearly stunned District 5 Commissioner Colten Wright.

“I’m very distressed,” he said.

Early Wednesday, he issued the following statement: "I'm disappointed about Dan Schebler's resignation and the void it leaves in Santa Rosa County. I believe Dan is a man of great character and he has been instrumental in making positive changes throughout his tenure. One day, the citizens of Santa Rosa County will realize his value, regret the way he was treated, and wish they could have him back. I wish him the best in his future endeavors and know that he will be an asset to whatever organization he chooses to share his talents with.”

District 2 Commissioner James Calkins, who criticized Schebler for what he said was a lack of transparency, was gracious.

“I wish him well,” Calkins said, noting he got word of the resignation from the county email. “I thank him for his service. He’s a talented person.”

Calkins, elected in November, criticized Schebler heavily when the county missed a deadline to apply for state money earlier this year. Though the money was not guaranteed, Calkins said Schebler misled his fellow commissioners and the public about the missed deadline. In the last few months, several speakers at commission meetings also asked for Schebler to be fired. Commissioners instead wrote a letter of reprimand.

In a related matter, Brad Baker, current Santa Rosa County public safety director, has been named the acting assistant county administrator effective Monday.

“Brad is an exceptional public servant and a valued and respected team member,” Schebler said in the same email announcing his departure. “I know he will continue his commitment to excellence as the acting assistant county administrator.”

Baker started working for the county in 1988 and comes with over 25 years of service to Santa Rosa County in public safety and many more in the emergency services field. Baker is also actively involved in his community serving as the fire chief of Allentown Volunteer Fire Department.

Commissioner now will search for Schebler’s replacement.

Tom Ninestine is the managing editor at WUWF. He began August 1, 2019. Tom is a native of Geneva, New York, and a 1983 graduate of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he studied journalism and political science. During a 29-year career in newspapers he worked for the Finger Lakes Times in his hometown; The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pennsylvania; and the Pensacola News Journal from 1998-2016.