New county extension agent sought

Pete Vergot

Pete Vergot, right, and Shelly Swenson, from the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service, speak to the county commission.

Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 04:10 PM.

Bill Mahan, Franklin County’s extension agent for the past 20 years, was transferred to Panama City last week, with a permanent replacement expected to be hired within the next four to six months.

“It is a personnel issue, and that’s all I can share at this time,” said Pete Vergot, northwest district extension director for University of Florida IFAS Extension, in a telephone interview Monday.

Vergot said Mahan was transferred to the Bay County extension office as of Oct. 29, with a temporary team of extension agent staffers, led by interim county director Shelly Swenson, now handling his duties.

“We work with the board (of county commissioners) on those decisions but it was a personnel decision that was made,” said Vergot. “We hope to continue the extension program, and we know there are issues that extension can assist.

“We’ll be doing some listening sessions on the most important needs,” he said. “We know there’s some expectation among shellfish workers and the seafood industry, so those are most likely the high priorities.”

Swenson lives in Wakulla County, where she handles family and consumer sciences and an expanded food and nutrition education program and is a 4-H Agent.

Vergot briefed the county commission on his decision at Tuesday morning’s meeting, and was questioned very little about what had happened with Mahan.

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