Flagler County Citizens Academy #10 graduates class of 28
April 25, 2016 – Flagler County graduated a class of 28 from its Spring Citizens Academy.
The academy provided residents with an opportunity to learn what it is really like to plan for the day-to-day lives of the more than 100,000 people who live in Flagler County. It culminated with a mock County Commission meeting and a roundtable discussion with two seated commissioners and both the administrator and deputy administrator.
“This is a really good discussion about what it means to be a county commissioner,” said local Realtor David Alfin. The panel – Craig Coffey, Sally Sherman, Commission Chair Barbara Revels and Commissioner Nate McLaughlin – concurred it takes a lot of work, “is no hug-fest,” and is not about always agreeing. Nor is it about political party.
“Whether Democrat or Republican, all decisions are driven by caring for the community,” Coffey said. “You’re not working on increasing the quality of life for yourself, but for all of Flagler County.”
Sally Sherman noted that commissioners, who hire the county administrator and the county attorney only, cannot direct staff because all decisions have to be approved by the five-person commission.
The next nine-week session will begin on September 15, 2016. These sessions will be evening sessions beginning at 5:00 pm. Please watch for further information and announcements.
“And you don’t come in with a my-way-is-the-best-way attitude,” McLaughlin said. “You are trying to get to the best decision.”
Civility and respect keep the gears turning, Sherman said.
“Sometimes we have to just agree to disagree,” she said. The panel was asked what the biggest management challenge is that faces the county. “It’s the ancillary items that you don’t get paid for, unfunded mandates,” Revels said. “When they cut taxes at the state level, county taxes go up.”
McLaughlin added that cuts at one end tend to mean unfunded mandates at the other. “There are certain services that we are required to provide whether the state funds them or not,” he said. “The cost of doing business is the cost of doing business. That doesn’t change.” The goal is to provide a high quality of life.
“We have to continue to provide what it is that brought you here in the first place,” Coffey said. “We have to plan not just for today but well into the future.”
The following people graduated from the 10 th Citizens Academy: David Alfin, Arnold Anderson, Denise Anderson, Linda Anderson, Marc Bellapianta, John Brady, Patricia Butler, Janet Correia, Denise Garcia, Bennett Gates, Helen Gorman, Rose Keirnan, Gary Maffe, Maria Maffe, David Miserendino, Christine Mosley, Susan Moya, Devrie Paradowski, Donna Peacock, Christine Poster, Rod Poster, Adele Quinn, Thomas Quinn, Lorene Schober, Lili Tuggle-Weir, Alea Witt, John Witt and Kathy Wilcox.
This free nine-week course is designed to introduce participants to the day-to-day operations of Flagler County government.
Each week participants will learn about the functions and operations of different County departments. Meeting locations will be held at various County facilities, to include the Emergency Operations Center, Kim C. Hammond Justice Center, Flagler County Public Library, Princess Place Preserve, and Flagler County Airport. The final session – a mock County Commission meeting will be held in the County Commission Chambers and will allow academy members to take part in a mock meeting of the County Commission.
Session 1: "Getting to Know Your County Government"
at the Emergency Operations Center to meet your County Commission Chairman, County Administrator, and County Attorney for an overview of government in Florida, as well as Flagler County’s organizational structure and operations
Session 2: "Constitutional Offices"
Meet at the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center to learn about your Clerk of Court, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector, and Property Appraiser and Supervisor of Elections and the services they provide.
Session 3: "Public Safety"
-- Meet at the
Emergency Operations Center, Operations Room and learn how the Sheriff’s Office operates the 911 call center, get an up-close view of the County’s Fire Rescue equipment, and see the County’s Emergency Operations Center. In this session, you will learn about the County’s Fire Rescue operations and how our Emergency Management staff plans for the County’s response to critical incidents and natural disasters.
Session 4: "Community Services, County Health Department and Extension Service"
Meet at the Flagler County Public Library to l earn about the Flagler County Public Library, the County’s Social Services, and the many programs offered by the Extension Service and our Veterans Service Officer programs. In addition, you will learn about the services provided by the Flagler County Health Department.
Session 5: "Innovation Technology, Communications and Growth Management"
-- Attendees will meet at the
Flagler County Government Services Building to hear from Flagler County’s Innovation Technology staff as they present their role in maintaining and modernizing the County’s technology infrastructure. Also, you will learn about the Flagler County Television channel, the County’s public information and communications functions, and get a tour of the County’s website. Also, Growth Management Department staff will discuss its Planning and Zoning, Building Inspection, Permitting, and Code Enforcement services.
Session 6: "Land Management, General Services and Engineering"
-- On the way to the
Princess Place you will meet Flagler County’s Land Management staff who will discuss the County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands program, land management and conservation efforts, and the County's planning for environmental preservation. The General Services department will discuss the County Parks, Public Transportation, Facilities, Solid Waste, and Utilities. Finally, Flagler County’s Public Works/Engineering Department will present information on the current and planned capital projects, road and bridge maintenance, and the heavy equipment used in the department’s day-to-day operations.
Session 7: "Flagler County Airport"
-- This presentation will take place at the Flagler County Airport where the Airport Director
will take everyone on a tour the Flagler County Airport and learn about the facility’s operations and current projects.
Session 8: "Finance, Tourism, and Economic Development"
Flagler County’s Financial Services Director will discuss the County’s purchasing function, affordable housing program, and the County budget. Also, you will learn about the County’s efforts to attract and promote tourism to our community as well as our efforts to attract, grow, and retain local businesses.
Session 9: “Mock County Commission Meeting and Roundtable Discussion” -- In the final session of the Flagler County Citizens Academy, participants will meet in the County Commission Chambers for the opportunity to put their newly-gained knowledge to use by participating as Commissioners, staff, and members of the public in a simulated County Commission meeting. At the end of this session, participants will complete their experience in the Citizens Academy by participating in an open roundtable discussion with Flagler County’s elected Commissioners.
"Graduation" -- Citizens Academy participants completing the program will be recognized at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. The graduation recognition will be near the beginning of the meeting, under Agenda Item 4, “Recognitions, Proclamations and Presentations.” The meeting begins at 5:00 p.m.
Class size is limited to 25 so sign up early to reserve your seat!