Pensacola News Journal by Jim Little
April 10, 2020
Escambia County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh is calling for a special meeting of the County Commission to discuss why a county emergency management report on the local response to the coronavirus pandemic is being withheld from public release.
The daily report was deemed confidential by the Escambia County attorney under Florida’s public records law as a “threat assessment.”
The report contains information on the number of local hospital beds and ventilators available and other information about how local and state agencies are responding to the virus in Escambia County.
Bergosh, who had posted previous copies of the report on his blog, told the News Journal on Friday he sees no reason why the document shouldn’t be public and said a special meeting is needed as the commission’s next scheduled meeting isn’t until May 7.
“I don’t want to wait until May 7,” Bergosh said. “I want this report to be published, and I think everyone should have access to it.”
The decision on whether to call a special meeting is up to Escambia County Chairman Steven Barry.
Barry told the News Journal he was opened-minded to the idea of having a virtual special meeting, and would consider it more next week. He also said he hoped the administration would be able to address the concerns of the public before the next meeting.