OPINION: Shock and Disappointment Surround Deputy Budget Director Hire

Posted on January 21, 2022 by EDITORIAL BOARD

When reading through the roughly dozen applications submitted for Santa Rosa County’s Deputy Budget Director position, one candidate soared about the rest.

Robert J. “Bob” Miller, a Certified Public Accountant, currently serves as the county’s Assistant Finance Director, a position he’s held for 8 years. Previous to that, Miller served for 15 years as an accountant with a CPA firm on a part-time basis (10 hours per week) while simultaneously working full time as a senior accountant for the Okaloosa Clerk of Court (40 hours per week).. 

In addition to being a CPA, he’s also a Certified Public Finance Officer and Certified Government Finance Officer. 

Miller was named Certified Government Finance Officer of the Year in 2007-2008 by the Florida Government Finance Officers Association. 

His co-workers in the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office were shocked and angered when they found out he was passed over for the Deputy Budget Director’s job. 

Also included in the applicants was a 25-year veteran of the county finance department who was willing to do the job for $60,000 per year. 

But the candidate who was selected currently works in the county commissioner’s admin office. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in business management in 2019 but holds no certifications, per her job application. Since 2018 her salary has increased from ~$58,000 to $85,000 – mostly in part to promotions by former County Administrator Dan Schebler, who had little institutional knowledge and in October 2019 shifted her out of an Administrative Coordinator position. Eventually he created a $70,000-plus Administrative Chief of Staff position for her in February 2021 when the former admin office manager retired.

It’s truly unfortunate that Mr. Miller wasn’t selected for the Deputy Budget Director’s job. That’s causing morale issues amongst county employees. 

It’s also disappointing that the interim county administration allowed that to happen.  

Santa Rosa citizens deserve the best candidate for the job, especially an $85,000 one.