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New county administrator picked after 18 month search

ESCAMBIA COUNTY - After an 18 month search, Escambia County commissioners have finally picked a new county administrator. The commission voted unanimously today to hire Jack Brown, the current administrator of Taylor County, Florida.
   
Escambia County has been without a permanent county administrator since Randy Oliver was fired from the job in October of 2012.

Brown is going to have five bosses, and they fought bitterly at times for about a year-and-a-half before picking him. So we asked Jack Brown, why do you want to be county administrator?

"Oh, I love it," Brown said, "It's great. It's like being a battalion commander."
   
Brown says his experience in Taylor County and in the military has prepared him well for the challenges he's facing.

"I'm an old, retired Army colonel," Brown said, "And I've had to hit the ground running more than a few times."
   
Brown is currently the administrator of Taylor County, which has a population of around 23,000. Escambia County, meanwhile, has about 300,000 people.

"Taylor County, while we're a small county we put together a 50 year vision plan," Brown said, "One of the things you have to do is get everyone working together. Businesses don't wanna come where there's a lot of controversy."
   
George Touart filled in as interim county administrator from November of 2012 until December of last year, when he left because of health problems that took his life in January. After that, Assistant Administrator Larry Newsom took over as interim administrator.

"This process has gone on far too long," said Commission Chairman Lumon May, explaining why he's disappointed in the selection process.
   
Negotiations between the commission and Brown are now underway. Brown is being offered a one year contract with a three-month severance package if he's terminated.