Update: Sanborn resigns from Tourist Development Council

Update: Jack Sanborn submitted his letter of resignation from his position on the Tourist Development Council Thursday to the Board of County Commissioners.

He resigned prior to a scheduled vote to by the BOCC to decide whether or not to remove Sanborn from the council following allegations of threats made on social media and an investigation of a comment he made in a public meeting last month.

Previous information: County Commissioners will vote on whether or not to remove long time Tourism Development Council (TDC) member Jack Sanborn Thursday following accusations that he made threatening remarks on social media.

Sanborn was not present at the meeting to answer the accusations.

Initial calls for Sanborn to be removed from the TDC were sparked after a comment he made to Navarre Press reporter Jamie Gentry during the TDC’s May 17 Budget Workshop.

During the meeting the TDC was discussing an event entitled Small Bites Under the Moonlight, and Chairman Kyle Holley asked if anyone in the room knew more about the topic to which Gentry responded yes.

She prefaced the information by saying, “I am a reporter, so my job is to have zero opinion, so know that I have zero opinion.”

“Not all reporters believe that just so you know,” Commissioner Sam Parker said.

“And you are a female and no opinion,” Sanborn said.

“Jack, uh-uh,” Holley said.

“I appreciate that sexism. It’s great,” Gentry responded.

In the recording those present can be heard laughing.

During Monday’s County Commission meeting, County Administrator Dan Schebler said county human resource personnel investigated the incident. Interviews were conducted with Sanborn, Gentry, others present at the time of the incident and with legal counsel reviewing the recording of the meeting.

He said it was determined that the comment was “meant in a lighthearted, joking manner” and was made among other such comments. He said it would be inappropriate for them to take any further action.

Following Schebler’s comment, Milton resident Pam Mitchell told the board that she felt “assaulted” by Sanborn and his wife through social media. She said that he has made threatening remarks to her and others. She provided a packet to the commissioners that was not made public during the meeting.

The packet, obtained through a public records request, showed that Katie Sanborn wrote she  had retained an attorney to sue for public defamation of her and Sanborn. No other incident of threats were documented in the packet though several emails alluded to threats being made.

Mitchell was joined by candidate for County Commissioner District 2 Wallis Mahute and resident Jerry Cooey also commented on Sanborn.  Cooey said Sanborn’s actions were a direct reflection on the county commission.

Commission Chairman Bob Cole said it would be inappropriate to discuss Sanborn without him being present.

But District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson spoke firmly about removing Sanborn from the board.

“We should thank him for his service and ask him to step down,” Williamson said.

Commissioners Don Salter and Lane Lynchard agreed. The board decided to take the issue of Sanborn’s removal up at Thursday’s commission meeting at 9 a.m. in the Santa Rosa County Administrative Center Board Room, 6495 Caroline Street, Milton.

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