South Santa Rosa News announces a new weekly feature

Posted on October 21, 2019 by Romi White

South Santa Rosa News is launching a new feature called “Just Asking!” It will appear online and in our opinion page and is designed to be an interactive watchdog effort. Readers can submit questions about possible local government waste to

For the debut we are asking why a county budget office employee, Henry Brewton, pictured below, sat idle in the audience for many hours during today’s lengthy Santa Rosa County Board of County Commission meeting, which started at 8:30 a.m., considering budget and finance agenda items weren’t discussed until roughly 1:55 p.m.

County Budget Director Jayne Nichols told South Santa Rosa News that even though Brewton was observed sitting idly she doesn’t consider it a cost to tax payers since he comes in early and leaves late. 

So we offered Nichols the opportunity to support her assertion by providing Brewton’s time sheets. However, she said extra hours are not recorded.

Instead of warming a seat in the commission board room, we believe Mr. Brewton would better serve the county by sitting at his desk and multitasking during the commission meetings, which some times last many hours.

And if Nichols cannot handle budget questions herself, she could summon him when those agenda items are drawing near, considering his office is a very short walk from the chambers.

For what it’s worth, Santa Rosa County Planning and Zoning Director Shawn Ward was also in the audience. However, he brought along a laptop and was observed to be working during the meeting.

Additionally, Emergency Management Director Brad Baker showed up only when it was time for his related agenda items to be discussed.

Kudos to Ward and Baker for not wasting tax payer dollars!

Also, just a head’s up that we also counted the number of staffers sitting inside the audio/video booth this morning. We’re also gonna be watching that.

How many county staff members does it take to run the A/V equipment???

Just asking!

Have you observed what you believe to be government wastefulness in Santa Rosa County? Email us! Your submission will remain completely anonymous.