With less than 48-hours for any other candidate to qualify, Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser, Greg Brown, withdrew from an unopposed race citing health concerns and endorsed his son, Gregory (Greg) Stephen Brown, II.
At the end of his current term, Greg Brown will have served Santa Rosa County for 20 years with numerous awards and accolades and is known throughout the state for this innovative use of technology. He also won an international award from the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO.)
Brown was the first property appraiser in Florida to win the James A. Howze Research and Development Award for original research in property assessment, taxation or mass appraisal techniques from IAAO.
Brown, Sr. told Navarre Press he regrets that the timing of the announcement was made so close to the deadline and the perception it sends. He said the timing of his medical situation led to a delayed decision on whether he would continue to run.
While at work Feb. 25, Brown, Sr. suffered two life threatening health events requiring emergency transport to the hospital. After three months of recovery work, he met with a specialist Monday who informed him that due to his current medical condition he must retire.
Brown, Sr. said over the next two days he spoke with his son and senior staff of the property appraisers office about next steps.
The father and son decided on a course of action Wednesday, he said. Brown, Jr. has experience in the appraisal industry. According to his father’s press release, Brown, Jr. has worked for the Escambia County Property Appraisers office for seven years.
“He holds an appraisal certification from the Florida Department of Revenue (Certified Florida Evaluator), a Florida Real Estate License, and is a small business owner,” Brown said. “Additionally, throughout his career, he served many leaders in our area and state including former United States Senator Mel Martinez, Congressman Jeff Miller, State Senator Durrell Peaden, and State Senator Greg Evers. He has served our community diligently and faithfully for 19 years in these different capacities.”
By Thursday morning, the press release was sent out and paperwork was filed with the Santa Rosa County elections office. Brown said the timing was dictated by his health.
“I can’t control when I had an almost life-ending event. I can’t change when my doctors told me this week what was safe for my health,” Brown, Sr. said.
He said he will be finishing his term, which ends Dec. 31, mostly through telework.
With no contenders for the office filed as of Friday at noon, the race automatically goes to Brown, Jr. His father said he confirmed with senior staff that none of them planned to run for the office prior to publicly backing his son’s campaign.
“My son’s integrity and my integrity remain intact because we did this as soon as possible,” Brown, Sr. said.
He pointed out that had he wanted to prevent anyone else from filing, they could have waited to make the announcement Friday morning, just moments before the deadline to file.
Brown, Jr. said he’s not a fan of the timeline either and that his father was not ready to stop serving Santa Rosa County.
“Being his son and being around him and seeing what that office has meant to him, I know this was a difficult decision for him,” Brown, Jr. said. “I felt led that I have the experience and that I would be able to do the job efficiently and effectively, serving the citizens of Santa Rosa County as he has done.”
From a legal perspective, Florida statute does prohibit those in political power from appointing, employing, promoting or advancing a relative. But Kerrie Stillman of the Florida Commission on Ethics said that portion of law does not apply as this is an elected position, not an appointment or job. Anyone could have filed at any time before Friday at noon to run for the office.
Brown, Jr. said he will continue the standard of service his father provided to the citizens of Santa Rosa County.