I want to thank FCCMA in general and the Interview Committee in particular for bestowing the honor of receiving the Raymond C. Sittig Academic Scholarship, and for having the opportunity to meet each of you.
I wish to wholeheartedly thank Alachua County Deputy Manager Angela Montgomery for writing a letter of recommendation and Dr. Robert Lee of Florida Gulf Coast University for his guidance and support.
I want to also thank a very good friend of mine Armando Grundy who introduced me to careers in local government. Without him, I would probably have never contemplated such distinguished opportunities. Armando also introduced me to two of my mentors whom I hold in high regard, former Alachua County Manager Betty Baker, who has an impeccable educational background, and she inspires me to strive to reach my full potential. Let’s not forget she became the first ever African American County Manager for Alachua County. Thank you Betty for being my mentor and providing me guidance. And the Assistant City Manager of Gainesville Fred Murray, who has an immaculate work ethic, and works tirelessly on behalf of the homeless and to restoring our urban core, Gainesville is better because of his service. Thank you Fred for your friendship.
We all know change happens at the local level. Local government is the only form of government, where a concerned citizen can come to you with a problem in the morning, and you try to find a solution by the afternoon, and then present your recommendations at a community meeting in the evening. Another example of change is the leadership of the City of Gainesville. City Manager Russ Blackburn has a strong record of giving to many underserved groups in Gainesville, and he hired the first African American police chief. Thank you Russ for your leadership. The opportunity to receive the scholarship award and to attend the conference inspires me to be part of that change!