Hendry leaders take reins at Florida counties convention

From left are Hendry County Board Chairman Mitchell Wills, County Administrator Charles Chapman, Commissioners Emma Byrd, Darrell Harris, Michael Swindle and Karson Turner, County Attorney Mark Lapp, County Engineer Shane Parker and Deputy County Administrator Jennifer Davis, at the Florida Association of Counties convention in Orlando. (Courtesy photo)

Hendry County commissioners and key staff members attended the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Annual Conference June 26-29 in Orlando, where Hendry representatives assumed several leadership roles in the association.

Commissioner Karson Turner was sworn in as president of the association on June 28. His duties as president over the next year will include representing FAC on the national level in Washington, D.C., as well as at county functions throughout the United States with the National Association of Counties.

“I look forward to this next year as president of FAC for multiple reasons,” Commissioner Turner said, “the biggest reason being that Hendry County will have direct access to a number of different policy-makers on the state level to make sure they understand the value of a county’s role in bringing services to citizens and how such a small decision from a state perspective can completely disrupt our ability to provide services in rural Florida.”

Jade Bryan, a 2018 graduate of Clewiston High School and daughter of Hendry County’s SHIP Director Sabrina Gadson, was the recipient of the 2018 Presidential Scholarship. (SHIP is the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program.)

The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to the child of a county government employee from the county that the incoming president represents. Miss Bryan graduated from Clewiston High School with a 4.9 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society and was recognized as MVP of the Clewiston High School tennis team. She was also a member of the Clewiston High School Collegiate Academy, where she maintained a 4.0 GPA. Miss Bryan will be attending the University of South Florida this coming fall to study psychology.

Commissioners Mitchell Wills, the Hendry County Board chairman, and Emma Byrd were recognized during the Thursday evening dinner as 2018 Presidential Advocates. This special recognition is bestowed upon county commissioners who have shown exceptional leadership in partnering with FAC during the 2018 session to advance the counties’ legislative agenda.

Hendry Commissioner Michael Swindle has served the last four years on the FAC Board of Directors and also sits on the FAC Policy Committee under Health & Safety.

County Administrator Charles Chapman was sworn in as president of the Florida Association of Counties Managers (FACM). County Engineer Shane Parker was sworn in as president of Florida Association of County Engineers (FACERS). And Hendry County Attorney Mark Lapp assumed his role as vice president of the Florida Association of County Attorneys (FACA).

The mission of the Florida Association of Counties is to help counties effectively serve and represent Floridians by strengthening and preserving county home rule — the concept that communities and their local leaders should make the decisions that affect their community — through advocacy, education and collaboration.

The Caloosa Belle is published every Thursday.

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