Perdido Key Commissioner Underhill censured for allegedly threatening to “bash” County lawyer’s reputation
Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill, a Perdido Key resident who represents residents in Southwest Escambia County, was formally censured by his four fellow commissioners for allegedly threatening county attorney Alison Rogers, according to media reports.
Rogers told commissioners that Underhill threatened her career twice in a private conversation. Underhill has denied the accusations.
In a letter to the BOCC, Rogers quotes Underhill as saying he would bash her reputation and that he “knows I (Rogers) have the votes to remain in my position, but he intends to do everything in his power to get rid of me.”
Rogers said the comments were made during a conversation about the county’s now-defunct settlement payout that would have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to commissioners and senior-level staff who were not enrolled in an annuity program before 2020.
“I was threatened that he is going to ‘bash my reputation until the day I resign.’ And he has clearly exhibited the ability to do that and carry it out. The most heartbreaking thing about this is that he’s mad at me for doing my job,” Rogers said.
Rogers wrote in her letter that she would have been an eligible employee for the settlement, but notified commissioners in May that she would not seek the settlement.
“I will say that categorically the words quoted here did not ever escape my lips, nor did they do it twice,” Underhill said. “I did say that it is that the attorney’s conduct has brought shame on this board. And I did state that I think that by the time all of this is said and done, it will be very surprising if you do not escape consequences for those things. That is well within my duties and my responsibilities for the oversight of one of the two full time employees that we have as commissioners.
“The verbiage is changed a little bit,’’ he added. “What I actually said was, you obviously, you are very safe in your position because the displeasure that I have with the attorney for her actions is not something that is mutually agreed upon by this board.
“Certainly Madam Attorney nothing that I said, was intended to be a threat. Nothing that I was intended to be anything other than my oversight of your job, which is my duty.” Underhill said. “Certainly there was nothing about bashing your reputation.”
Commissioner Jeff Bergosh called for the vote to censure Underhill.
“This is very upsetting to me. As a matter of fact, it’s so upsetting to me, along with a lot of other crap I’m seeing online from you, I think it’s about time this board took some action. You run us down constantly. Your help from the office runs us down constantly.
“You’re a source of consternation on this board that’s unnecessary, and I’m just about fed up with it.”