Quality Cities | Third Quarter 2022

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▸ Walker Guides FLC Centennial p. 22 ▸ Improvements Through Gainsharing p. 40


▸ Advocacy Strategies to Use Now p. 42


Florida Race to Zero Cohort 22 cities pledge to work toward carbon neutrality See p. 38



Providing local governments with


Investing Together for Local Benefit Are your investments properly diversified in today’s current environment?


Protecting the Retirement of Those Serving the Public Could hidden fees be derailing your retirement plans?


Making Your Dollars Do More for Local Communities Debating a new construction project or refinancing an existing loan? Contact Jeremy Langley Account Executive jlangley@flcities.com 859.552.5224


BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT Phillip E. Walker, Commissioner, Lakeland Quality Cities Magazine Volume 96 | Number 3 PUBLISHER Jeannie Garner EDITOR AND CREATIVE PROJECT MANAGER Joy Dickinson ASSISTANT EDITOR Kelli Gemmer WRITER/EDITOR Sheryl S. Jackson GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Sydney Fraser Bonnie Gaupp Jena Glantz CIRCULATION Eryn Russell Stay informed: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Visit our website at flcities.com. Quality Cities (formerly Quality Cities ’90) (ISSN 0892-4171) (USPS Number: 201-780) serves as a medium of exchange of ideas and information on municipal affairs for the public officials of Florida. The views expressed and the data presented by contributors and advertisers are not to be construed as having the endorsement of the Florida League of Cities unless so specifically stated. No material from this publication may be reprinted without the express permission of the editor. The mailing address for the publishers of Quality Cities is P.O. Box 1757, Tallahassee, FL 32302-1757. The telephone number is 850.222.9684, and the email address is jdickinson@ flcities.com. Offices are located at 301 S. Bronough St., Suite 300, Tallahassee, FL 32301-1722. Quality Cities is published quarterly by the Florida League of Cities. Periodicals Postage Paid at Tallahassee, FL, No. 201780. Postmaster: Send address changes to Quality Cities, P.O. Box 1757, Tallahassee, FL 32302-1757. The yearly MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION rate for members is $10.00, other governmental agencies – $15.00 and nonmembers – $20.00 for four issues.

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT Jolien Caraballo, Vice Mayor, Port St. Lucie SECOND VICE PRESIDENT Greg Ross, Mayor, Cooper City DISTRICT DIRECTORS (1) William Schaetzle, Mayor Pro Tem, Niceville (1) J.B. Whitten, Mayor, Crestview (2) Jake Hill, Councilmember, Lake City (3) Robert F. Apgar, Mayor, DeLand (3) William Partington, Mayor, Ormond Beach (4) Carol McCormack, Mayor, Palm Shores (4) Dominick Montanaro, Vice Mayor, Satellite Beach (5) Louie Davis, Mayor, Waldo (5) Cal Rolfson, Councilmember, Mount Dora (6) Joseph McMullen, Commissioner, Oakland (6) Rosemary Wilsen, Mayor Pro Tem, Ocoee (7) Sam Fite, Vice Mayor, Bowling Green (7) Marlene Wagner, Vice Mayor, Lake Hamilton (8) Tyler Payne, Mayor, Treasure Island (8) Jamie Robinson, Commissioner, Largo (9) Susan Gibbs Thomas, Councilmember, Indiantown (10) Brian Williams, Commissioner, Palmetto (11) Fred Forbes, Councilman, Bonita Springs (12) Kimberly Glas-Castro, Vice Mayor, Lake Park (12) Lawrence Gordon, Vice Mayor, Haverhill (12) Jeff Hmara, Councilman, Royal Palm Beach (13) Traci L. Callari, Commissioner, Hollywood (13) Todd Drosky, Commissioner, Deerfield Beach (13) Bob Mayersohn, Commissioner, Parkland (13) Gary Resnick, Commissioner, Wilton Manors


(13) Iris Siple, Commissioner, Pembroke Pines (13) Susan Starkey, Councilwoman, Davie (13) Beverly Williams, Vice Mayor, Lauderdale Lakes (14) Juan Carlos “JC” Bermudez, Mayor, Doral (14) Joseph Corradino, Mayor, Pinecrest (14) Rodney Harris, Mayor, Miami Gardens (14) Crystal Wagar, Councilmember, Miami Shores 10 MOST POPULOUS CITIES Samuel Newby, Council President, Jacksonville Ken Russell, Commissioner, Miami Joseph Citro, Councilmember, Tampa Kenneth T. Welch, Mayor, St. Petersburg Robert Stuart, Commissioner, Orlando Esteban Bovo Jr., Mayor, Hialeah John Dailey, Mayor, Tallahassee Heather Moraitis, Vice Mayor, Fort Lauderdale Stephanie Morgan, Councilwoman, Port St. Lucie John Gunter, Mayor, Cape Coral PAST PRESIDENTS Scott Black, Commissioner, Dade City Frank C. Ortis, Mayor, Pembroke Pines Joy Cooper, Mayor, Hallandale Beach Patricia Bates, Mayor, Altamonte Springs Matthew D. Surrency, Commissioner, Hawthorne Leo E. Longworth, Commissioner, Bartow Isaac Salver, Council Member, Bay Harbor Islands Antonio “Tony” Ortiz, Commissioner, Orlando FCCMA EX-OFFICIO MEMBER Michael Pleus, City Manager, DeLand Jeannie Garner, Executive Director/CEO Kraig Conn, General Counsel


The Florida League of Cities offers a grants assistance program for cities. Through a partnership with eCivis, the grants program provides Florida municipalities FREE access to a database with more than 9,000 tracked grants. The program offers League members the tools to make finding, applying for and managing their grants easier than ever. The program includes built-in compliance with grant guidance and oversight from certified grant management specialists at eCivis. To learn more, visit flcities.com/grants or email flcgrants@ecivis.com. THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 3




COVER FEATURE 38 Florida Race to Zero Cohort

22 cities pledge to work toward carbon neutrality


CITY SPOTLIGHTS 12 Forging the Future


Use advocacy strategies this postreapportionment election season

Through Partnerships

Brooksville focuses on staff, businesses and infrastructure

14 16

R.I.S.E. Principles Are Guide



Dania Beach staff lead with respect, integrity and excellence

Enhancing the Community Tamarac creates innovative projects and programs

Get to Know the Candidates – Build Relationships Now

Getting Savvy with Surveys Important considerations for polling your community

Business Watch


Defining a Workforce Revolution Look at facilities and real estate to recruit and retain talent





Understanding Heatstroke Know the symptoms to protect loved ones

Summertime Safety Tips for being in the sun on water and land

50 FEATURES 22 Walker Guides FLC Centennial 33 40 47 48 50 54 56


From the President


QC Today


Did you know

League and member news

Adult alligators are a tale of survival

100th year has shown ‘we’re stronger together’


Meeting Calendar

FLC Board of Directors




Employee Profile

Improvements Through Gainsharing Winter Haven program brings creative ideas for city operations

Public Service Matters

Aaron Carper

Mayors Share Best Practices Ideas and advice improve ability to serve communities

Community Service Contest Winners Teens address local needs, make a difference

Cybersecurity Training Through Tabletop Exercises Strengthen your disaster recovery plan by shooting holes in it

2022 Florida City Government Week Ways to engage your legislators this year

Winners for ‘If I Were Mayor’ Contest Announced Essay contest encourages civic engagement among middle school students

MEETING 24 FLC 2022 Annual Conference Tentative schedule



The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) provides local governments with a complete Employee Benefits Package. The Employee Benefits Package includes: ∙ Medical ∙ Dental ∙ Vision ∙ Life ∙ Disability ∙ Voluntary Employee Benefits ∙ Section 125 Administration ∙ Flexible Spending Account/ Health Savings Account/Health Reimbursement Arrangement Administration

∙ A Customized Wellness Solution ∙ COBRA Administration ∙ Full Online Eligibility and Enrollment System Contact Lindsey Larson Account Executive llarson@flcities.com 920.606.9716



Strengthening Florida’s future through unity President Phillip E. Walker Commissioner City of Lakeland

FLCU Certificate Program The Florida League of Cities University (FLCU) is launching a new program called the Certificate Program for Elected Municipal Officials to recognize elected officials who take part in the Florida


his year, we’ve accomplished a lot together. We continued to be proactive and collaborative in our advocacy efforts, not just during the 2022 legislative session but year-round. This relationship-building will be particularly important as we head into elections following redistricting and reapportionment. (Read about advocacy strategies this post-reapportionment election season on p. 42.) Our cities are focused on issues impacting our communities, such as sustainability. The Florida League of Cities (FLC) has provided scholarships to 22 municipalities who will join the Florida Race to Zero cohort, a friendly competition between cities to showcase how they are leading the way to carbon neutrality. (For more information, see p. 38.) We also recognized the past while looking to the future. Throughout 100 years, the League’s mission has been steadfast. We’ll close out the centennial celebration with a culmination of events at FLC’s Annual Conference Aug. 11-13 in Hollywood. Read more about the conference, including information about some exciting keynote speakers and the 100th Anniversary Gala, on pages 24 through 32. The conference is a wonderful opportunity to share best practices and ideas with those who are facing similar challenges. Working together to solve problems has been a foundation of the League’s history. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to make new connections and discuss strategies for Florida’s future. Throughout our history, one thing rings true: We are stronger together.

League of Cities’ many training opportunities. This new multi-level certificate achievement program will allow you to earn points for the

Phillip E. Walker

activities in which you are already participating! Look for additional information on this exciting new recognition program. For more information, see p. 29.



Have news to share? Send it to kgemmer@flcities.com.


Miramar and St. Petersburg Receive Smart City Award The City of Miramar and the City of St. Petersburg were named winners in the fifth annual Smart Cities North America Awards presented by IDC Government Insights. The awards recognize the cities’ foresight and effectiveness in using technology to provide new services and economic opportunities. Miramar won the Next-Gen Emergency Services category for the Miramar Records Management System. St. Petersburg won the Urban Planning and Land Use category with its Smart Intersection – Vision Zero initiative.


Five Cities Awarded For Workplace Mental Health Five Florida municipalities were recognized as 2021-22 Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health recipients from Mental Health America (MHA). The award, a first-of-its-kind workplace mental health certification, recognizes employers who strive to improve employee mental health and create a psychologically safe workplace for all. The municipalities and their seal level were: ▸ ▸ ▸ ▸ ▸

City of Hollywood – Platinum City of Lake Worth Beach – Gold City of North Port – Gold City of Port St. Lucie – Platinum Village of Wellington – Platinum.

For more information, visit mhanational.org/bestemployers.


NLC Targets Climate Change The National League of Cities (NLC), in partnership with BuyIn Community Planning,

released a report that explores what climate migration means for the future of cities and what local leaders can do to plan for these changes proactively. The report, “The Next American Migration: What Cities Should Know About Climate Change and Populations on the Move,” is available at bit.ly/3HjbQja.


Gainesville Residents Create Murals PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF GAINESVILLE

City of Gainesville residents celebrated the weeklong Festival of Creativity by painting a mural in downtown Gainesville. The GNV Art Jam program, supported by the City, is free and open to the public. Pam Valcante, muralist and former Gainesville high school art teacher, offered guidance to participants and was assisted by local creative artists. The event was presented by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department’s 352walls in collaboration with 352Creates, a satellite of the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program. 8 QUALITY CITIES | THIRD QUARTER 2022




MEETING CALENDAR JULY 25-28 Florida Local Government Information Systems Association Annual Conference Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood Contact Becky Brennan


Adult Alligators Are a Tale of Survival Alligators overcome many challenges to live to adulthood. In late June or early July, alligators lay nests of 32 to 46 eggs. Floods or predators destroy about one-third of the nests. About 24 hatchlings are born per nest from mid-August through early September. Adult alligators often eat younger alligators. Only 10 will live until their first birthday. About five will live to maturity. Alligators also are hunted by humans. In fact, beginning in August, alligators can be hunted 24 hours a day in Florida during hunting season, which runs from August 15 to November 1. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission expanded the hours and agreed to allow hunters to use pre-charged pneumatic airbows with tethered lines. There is a two-alligator limit. The state issues about 7,600 permits, and close to half of those hunters reach the limit. About 7,500 more alligators are labeled a “nuisance” annually and killed. There are approximately 1.3 million alligators in the state. The Chairman of the Commission says they are a “huge success story” but conservation efforts are ongoing. Here are a few interesting facts about alligators: The heaviest one recorded in Florida weighed 1,043 pounds and was at Orange Lake near Gainesville. The state record for length is 14 feet 3½ inches and was at Lake Washington near Hawthorne. While those animals seem huge, the ancestor of alligators, the Deinosuchus, was up to 33 feet long and ate dinosaurs. Alligators are most active when the temperature is between 82 and 92 degrees. They stop eating when the temperature drops below about 70 degrees. During the winter, they’re mostly dormant. An alligator’s mouth allows it to bite with almost 3,000 pounds of force. They can dive for extended periods because they transition to a lower metabolic state. Alligators also can climb fences, and one was videotaped climbing a fence at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. They also can enter houses through doggy doors. Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Geographic, News Service of Florida, onlyinyourstate.com, The New York Times and usgs.gov.

JULY 28-30 Florida Municipal Attorneys Association Annual Seminar Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Bonita Springs Contact Becky Emerson AUGUST 10 Center for Municipal Research Symposium: Digital Infrastructure – Broadband and Cybersecurity Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood Contact Wade Burkley AUGUST 11-13 Florida League of Cities Annual Conference Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood Contact Melanie Howe SEPTEMBER 16-17 Institute for Elected Municipal Officials II Embassy Suites Fort Myers, Estero Contact Angela Delune OCTOBER 9-13 Florida Association of City Clerks Fall Academy Orlando Marriott Lake Mary Contact Rachel Embleton OCTOBER 12-14 Florida Redevelopment Association Annual Conference Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort Contact Heidi Hogarth OCTOBER 14-15 Institute for Elected Municipal Officials Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore Contact Angela Delune OCTOBER 15-21 Florida Government Finance Officers Association School Luminary Hotel & Co., Fort Myers Contact Jill Walker NOVEMBER 16-19 National League of Cities City Summit Kansas City, MO Contact Allison Payne NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 2 FLC Legislative Conference Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South Contact Mary Edenfield


GO TO: events/calendar-of-events or call

850.222.9684 for more information. THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 9



Port St. Lucie’s raised intersection and street art.



Street Art Boosts Safety In Port St. Lucie

Colorful, creative street art helps slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety near the Jessica Clinton Memorial Community Park in the City of Port St. Lucie. A raised intersection encourages traffic to slow. Two rows of red hearts provide a visual reminder to drive safely in the area of the adjacent pedestrian-friendly park. For more information about the City’s other traffic-calming measures, visit bit.ly/3jZdStG. RECOGNITION

Tarpon Springs, Suncoast Region Are All-America Finalists The City of Tarpon Springs and the Suncoast, FL, region were announced 2022 All-America City Award finalists by the National Civic League (NCL) and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. This year’s theme is “housing as a platform for equitable learning recovery.” The finalists are being recognized for promoting early school success and equitable learning recovery. The 20 finalists will compete in July 2022 to be recognized as one of 10 All-America Cities. PREPAREDNESS

Hurricane Happy Hour Connects and Educates The Village of Palmetto Bay found a creative way to inform and prepare residents for hurricane season and create a social gathering. The Hurricane Happy Hour featured a one-hour workshop along with drinks and appetizers. Resource vendors were on hand to provide additional information, and a raffle gave residents a chance to win a silent generator.


Palmetto Bay’s hurricane preparedness workshop and happy hour at Village Hall.



Delray Beach Tops List Of Green Local Governments The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), the state’s leading certifier of green residential and commercial construction and local governments, recently announced the 2021 Annual Green Achievement Award winners. The City of Delray Beach achieved the highest score and a bronze level for FGBC Certified Green Local Governments – City. Numerical points are given for selecting and integrating individual environmentally friendly green products, best practices and sustainable techniques from a menu of available green options. For more information on the City’s sustainability program and green checklist, go to bit.ly/3GNknKY.


Florida City Leaders Appointed to NLC Committees The National League of Cities (NLC) named several Florida municipal officials to serve on the NLC’s federal advocacy committees and play a central role in developing the organization’s federal policy positions. The officials who were appointed to a committee in 2022 are: ▸ City of Doral Vice Mayor Digna Cabral, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee ▸ City of Doral Legislative Analyst Christian Contreras, Community and Economic Development Committee ▸ City of Midway Councilwoman NanDrycka King Albert, Human Development Committee ▸ City of Miramar Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison Debon Campbell II, Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Committee ▸ City of Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee ▸ City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Transportation and Infrastructure Services Committee.


Sarasota and Tallahassee Honored for Projects The American Public Works Association (APWA) Florida Chapter recognized two Florida cities with their Public Works Project of the Year award. The City of Sarasota won the water and wastewater category, and the City of Tallahassee, in partnership with Blueprint 1A, won the transportation category. APWA’s Awards Program recognizes outstanding individuals, groups and chapters representing the best in public works.


Obituaries Former Cape Coral Council Member Rick Williams Former Cape Coral Council Member Rick Williams died April 15 at age 77. Williams

served on the City Council from 2013-2021, where he created and founded the Cape Coral Youth Council. His passion was to give the City’s youth a place to have their voices heard. Before his time on the Council, Williams served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years. “The City of Cape Coral has lost a great leader with the passing of former Council Member Rick Williams,” said Mayor John Gunter. “During his eight years on the Council, Rick will be remembered for his contagious personality and passionate involvement with the youth and the entire community.”

Former Dania Beach Commissioner John M. Bertino ART

St. Petersburg Celebrates Native with Watch Party City of St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch brought over 100 residents together for an Academy Awards watch party at the Woodson African American Museum of Florida to honor and celebrate a former resident. Will Packer, who was born in the City, has had a successful career as a television and movie producer. He was also part of the first all-Black production team for the award show in 2022.

Former Dania Beach Commissioner John M. Bertino died March 10 at age 78. Bertino

was elected to the City Commission in 1974 and served for 35 years until 2009, including five terms as Mayor, three terms as Vice-Mayor and 10 terms as Commissioner. He also served as a Trustee and Chairman of the Florida League of Cities insurance trusts (now the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust). Bertino spent 34 years in education and taught history and civics at a Dania Beach middle school. “John M. Bertino has been an important part of the Dania Beach community,” the City said in a released statement. “His three decades of service and great contribution to the City of Dania Beach left a legacy for all future generations.”

Lighthouse Point Mayor Glenn Troast Lighthouse Point Mayor Glenn Troast


St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch with his wife and daughter at the City’s Academy Awards watch party.

died March 23 at age 64. Troast was first elected to the City Commission in 2011 and had served as Mayor since 2014. He was a Florida licensed certified public accountant and a certified valuation analyst. As Mayor, Troast was committed to the City’s financial stability and worked to keep taxes and fees low for residents. “Glenn was the most dedicated of public servants and did not take the office of Mayor lightly,” said Mayor Kyle Van Buskirk. “His passion for our City, the leadership he portrayed and his visions for our future helped shape our little City into one of the best places to live in Broward County, the state of Florida and even our wonderful country. His shoes are hard to fill. He was a mentor to me; I continue on as Mayor in his honor. He will be missed by so many in Lighthouse Point.” THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 11




Art mural downtown.


Forging the Future Through Partnerships Brooksville focuses on staff, businesses and infrastructure by Charlene Kuhn City of Brooksville


he City of Brooksville is a thriving community that has experienced continuous growth while preserving its original charm. It is well known for its rolling landscape and mossdraped trees that line the City’s historic cobblestone streets. For 27 years, Brooksville has been recognized as a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation. While the City’s beauty is undeniable, it has encountered its share of economic challenges. Since the Great Recession, the City has struggled to recover to pre-crisis levels of adequate staffing that allows for effective service levels to the community. Reductions in the millage rate over the years restrained the City’s ability to fund needed maintenance of infrastructure. In early 2020, the City began to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including high employee turnover and 12 QUALITY CITIES | THIRD QUARTER 2022

BROOKSVILLE Hernando County Pop. 9,165

staffing shortages. These impacts further complicated matters while the City’s infrastructure continued to languish. However, the appointment of Brooksville City Manager Ron Snowberger in 2021 was a turning point for the City. With 38 years of experience in local government and three years as Brooksville’s Fire Chief, Snowberger brought a new vision and several strategies to propel the City forward. Fresh into his appointment, Snowberger began talks with Hernando County administration to develop a Joint Planning Agreement (JPA) to provide city and county residents with the best utility services available. The plan, when fully approved, will allow the City to apply smart growth principles, enhancing areas for the City and the County. In conjunction with this effort, the City has partnered with the Hernando County Office

CITY SPOTLIGHT of Economic Development to encourage business recruitment and expansion into the City. With the County, the City is financing a program to identify growth opportunities that will benefit tourism in the area. City administration and staff have implemented a solid cooperative and collaborative relationship with Brooksville Main Street (BMS). A nonprofit organization accredited through Main Street America, BMS emphasizes Brooksville’s strongest assets through preservation-based economic development and transformation strategies. The City partners with BMS for the myriad events sponsored throughout the year. These events bring multitudes of people to the community, have tremendous economic impacts and project a beautiful image of the City. In April, the Brooksville Blueberry Festival returned after a three-year hiatus. More than 25,000 people flooded the small community on the first day, and approximately 16,000 people attended on the second day. In addition, Innovation Collective, a national company focusing on community and economic development, has begun design and development on the historic Jennings Building downtown. They will use the building for an incubator-type program to assist budding entrepreneurs. The Jennings Building will also house shared workspaces, private offices, conference room access, a private business lounge and community spaces. Hernando County Courthouse.

Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), the City has been able to gain a foothold in the direly needed infrastructure improvements. ARPA funding will be used for revenue replacement of budgeted funds. These budgeted funds include investments in replacing/upgrading several city-owned lift stations; replacing generators that are backup for critical city water facilities, streets, drainage and water plant improvements; as well as water line, hydrant and wastewater treatment improvements. As a result of a pay study conducted in 2020, the City has executed raises for city employees. In addition, an online employee applicant system and a new paid time off benefit has been implemented for city employees. Plans are underway to implement a merit-based employee evaluation assessment system. ARPA PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF BROOKSVILLE


Brooksville Community Playground.

funding is also being used to replace funds used for COVID-19 sick pay and provide a premium pay incentive to city employees who remained steadfast for the duration of the pandemic. Snowberger said, “Our employees are our most important asset. This is a token of appreciation for their dedication to coming to work every day throughout the pandemic.” The City has also focused on environmental and recreational improvements. A newly constructed playground at Tom Varn Park was funded in part by a Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program

(FRDAP) grant. A proposed splash pad will soon be installed next to the playground through another partnership and a generous donation from the Kiwanis Club of Brooksville . Plans are underway for resurfacing the tennis and basketball courts with the potential to expand those recreational facilities. In addition, a portion of the ARPA revenue replacement funding will be used to upgrade/construct several park restroom facilities. These upgraded park facilities will augment gathering places for community events, provide safer and healthier recreational options, preserve the green space and attract new residents and visitors. The City is now thriving rather than just surviving. Brooksville is quickly moving forward through quality partnerships, and a new emphasis has been placed on revitalization. Through the City’s continued investments, both financially and in forging community partnerships, Brooksville will continue to evolve and prosper, which ensures a very bright future! Charlene Kuhn is the Public Information Officer and Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Brooksville. QC THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 13




Dania Beach Pier.


R.I.S.E. Principles Are Guide Dania Beach staff lead with respect, integrity and excellence by Linda Gonzalez City of Dania Beach


key component associated with the growth and success of the City of Dania Beach over the last two years has been due to the R.I.S.E. principles instilled in the City’s team, along with efforts to ensure these principles are upheld. R.I.S.E. stands for respect, integrity and standard of excellence. It is a way of life where words are aligned with action. R.I.S.E. is not just a three-page policy. It’s a guiding principle and the foundation for how city officials, leaders and team members engage with each other and community members. For the first time in its history, the City recently adopted a strategic master plan that contains objectives and goals for the City’s next 15 years. In the last two years, the City Commission abolished antiquated civil service rules. It instituted a personnel policy manual and rolled out the R.I.S.E. standards. Dania Beach leaders started implementing the plan with a citywide virtual meeting. The R.I.S.E. principles are posted throughout City Hall. 14 QUALITY CITIES | THIRD QUARTER 2022

DANIA BEACH Broward County Pop. 31,837

Numerous technological enhancements allow staff to handle business more efficiently and effectively. The City implemented a “See Something, Say Something” mobile app as a simple, quick way for employees to report customer service and safety matters directly to management. An all-day onboarding intensive program is conducted quarterly for new hires on the R.I.S.E. principles. A version of the onboarding program was also created for newly elected officials. City Manager Ana M. Garcia, ICMA-CM, said, “The people that we recruit, promote and retain must be aligned with R.I.S.E. When we are dealing with anyone, and they have a need, we are very responsive and respectful. If there’s a challenge, or an issue, we work toward a solution. That’s what we do.” INVESTING IN EMPLOYEES

Dania Beach invested in employee benefits to establish the City as a premier employer. Enhancements included:

CITY SPOTLIGHT ▸ A city-paid long-term disability policy ▸ City-paid life insurance coverage increase from $50,000 to up to $200,000 ▸ Lower health insurance costs over the last two years, while maintaining the same benefit levels ▸ Financial benefit for employees who opt out of city health insurance ▸ Employee intranet and self-service portal for documents, information and improved transparency ▸ Employee loan program ▸ Additional city-paid holiday ▸ Special pay plan for retiring employees to help with leave payout tax implications ▸ A second retirement benefit in lieu of paying into Social Security for part-time employees. Training opportunities focused on customer service and technical skills and an employee evaluation program that focused on R.I.S.E. principles was created. The City also involved employees in the R.I.S.E. policy creation and implemented a R.I.S.E. library to further employee education and professional development. Dania Beach uses nationwide searches to recruit team members and uses private sector human resources standards to hire, retain and promote individuals dedicated to excellence in customer service. Employees were incentivized to attend a spring employee wellness event with over 30 vendors, where they learned about their health biometrics. The City will also be hosting a formal Employee R.I.S.E. Recognition and Appreciation Event. The City has also focused on work-life balance and continued a hybrid work schedule.


The “Let LOVE Guide Your Way” sculpture, created by South Florida Public Artist Lloyd Goradesky, is located outside City Hall to spread the message of love and kindness in the community.

An aerial view of Dania Beach.


Linda Gonzalez is the Chief Human Resources Officer for the City of Dania Beach. QC


Dania Beach has become a live-work-play city. The City has invested $100 million in the parks, beach and citywide infrastructure in the past three years. Deputy City Manager Candido Sosa-Cruz, ICMA-CM, said, “We have a very inviting beach with a unique pier that is 1,000 feet long. You can fish, watch the sunset and enjoy the natural environment such as turtle- and bird-watching. We have an abundance of entertainment opportunities such as the Dania Beach Casino, art galleries, the shops at Dania Pointe as well as great dining and recreation citywide. In Dania Beach, we really pay attention to the details.” The retention and overall happiness of team members have resulted in strategic growth for the City “on the rise”: ▸ Public Art Program funded by developer contributions ▸ Beach Master Plan implementation ▸ $45 million Parks Master Plan implementation ▸ $40.2 million in infrastructure improvements ▸ Citywide stormwater improvements ▸ New restaurant coming soon on the beach. The secret is proactive and dedicated team members operating under the R.I.S.E. principles, who work tirelessly to see the city they love succeed.

DANIA BEACH RECOGNIZED The City of Dania Beach created a Safety Committee and won the “Safety and Risk Management Member of the Year” award from the Public Risk Underwriters of Florida – Loss Control Department. The City also won its first Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) award for excellence in financial reporting and budget.




Art mural downtown.


Enhancing the Community Tamarac creates innovative projects and programs by Monique Johnson City of Tamarac

TAMARAC Broward County Pop. 72,509


Public art at the Colony West Golf Club in Tamarac.



estled just beyond the edge of Florida’s Everglades in Western Broward County is the vibrant, thriving and growing City of Tamarac. Since its founding in 1963, this 12-square-mile city has transformed from a destination for golf-loving retirees into a modern community celebrating its diversity of cultures, backgrounds, ages and experiences. With nearly 72,000 residents and 2,000 businesses, Tamarac is positioned to become one of South Florida’s most sought-after communities to grow families and businesses. “The City of Tamarac is a dynamic city with the population growing 19% in the last 10 years and increasing in diversity,” said City Manager Kathleen Gunn. “Tamarac is home. It is a beloved community in which all walks of life live together equitably and peaceably. It is a city of the future focused on smart forward-reaching plans and inclusivity so that all may thrive.” To support Tamarac’s population growth, city leaders are creating innovative projects and programs that enhance the quality of life for residents. From engaging citizens through public art

CITY SPOTLIGHT Splash Pad at Waters Edge Park.


Rendering of the amphitheater at Tamarac Village.

new downtown. After years of planning and land assembly, in 2021, the City celebrated the completion of the first phase of multi-family housing construction in the mixed-use development. Tamarac’s new, modern 400-unit apartment community will also feature a park; an amphitheater programmed with community events, which residents of all ages have come to love; a splash pad and 44,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Projects like Tamarac Village are part of the City’s economic development efforts to revitalize its commercial corridors. Last year Tamarac launched two new grant programs, the $500,000 Real Estate Development Accelerator Grant and the $250,000 Plaza Owner Façade and Exterior Improvements Grant, to incentivize and attract new mixed-use projects and commercial property investment. EXPANDING INFRASTRUCTURE

Another essential element supporting Tamarac’s growth are strategic initiatives to continue its smart infrastructure in areas focused on sustainability, mobility, accessibility, resiliency and transparency. The City recently began an extensive expansion of its fiberoptic network, providing residents with enhanced Wi-Fi access at all public parks and facilities. Additionally, the City is undergoing a project to replace the above-ground fiber with underground fiber to enhance resiliency and disaster preparedness while also providing infrastructure for future Smart City projects. Tamarac’s moniker, “The City for Your Life,” embodies the true spirit of this tight-knit community. It’s a place where residents and businesses thrive. Tamarac leaders are creating an attractive community for investors and a place that the local workforce and their families can be proud to call home. Tamarac is putting the right plans in place to ensure a superb quality of life for future generations.

to developing a “smart city” infrastructure and downtown hub, these initiatives strengthen community pride and improve the City’s economic vitality. In 2004, Tamarac established its Public Art Committee to promote appreciation of fine art, enhance outdoor spaces and build community. The Public Art Committee recommends and commissions art pieces seen throughout Tamarac for City Commission approval. Tamarac’s public art collection contains more than 30 indoor and outdoor sculptures that have been purchased or gifted to the City. In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact residents, the City debuted Inspiration Way to give community members a safe way to enjoy art from the comfort of their vehicles or while walking along this mile-long stretch. Inspiration Way, also known as Tamarac’s “museum without walls,” is a unique temporary sculpture program featuring 12 eclectic designs from Monique Johnson is the Marketing Specialist for the City of Tamsome of the nation’s most talented artists. The current exhibit arac’s Public Information Office. QC will remain on display until Spring 2023. The City’s 2021 Resident Survey revealed that Rendering of Tamarac Village. resident satisfaction with the availability of public art increased, and 50% of residents said the availability of public art enhanced their quality of life. The program is paid for by developer contributions to the City’s ongoing Public Art Fund. Tamarac’s commitment to infusing art into the fabric of the community includes the installation of the City’s first social justice-focused art wall, slated for completion in fall 2022. The art wall will serve as a discussion piece and focal point at Tamarac Village, the heart of what will become Tamarac’s PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF TAMARAC






Public Service Matters 30 years of advice, teaching and listening by Scott C. Paine Florida League of Cities


having the capacity to adequatehad forgotten about this one. ly serve them. Or the double oath Doing some office cleaning, I imposed upon Pedro de Valdivia found my copy of my tenure packet, a modest 3-inch-thick binder full by the citizens of Santiago, Chile, of course syllabi, student classroom before they would accept him as climate surveys, publications, preGovernor, a reminder that when we sentations and notes of praise and take the oath of office, we ought to thanks. And there, near the back, mean it. Or my pastor preaching at was my first article in the League’s his father’s funeral, a symbol of so magazine, Quality Cities (QC). It many public leaders who, in times was next to a thank you letter from of community suffering and loss, find something beyond themselves Beth Dolan, who was the Citizenship that empowers them to bring healEducation Director for the Florida ing and hope in the midst of their League of Cities (FLC) in May 1993. own pain. Almost 30 years ago. – Henry Drummond, Scottish evangelist, There also have been very perI’ve spilled a lot of digital ink since biologist, writer and lecturer sonal columns. When our daughthen. ter, Bakhita, died in 2003, I found I wrote another article in the mid1990s that was a reflection on the it necessary to bring that story to balancing act of public service and one’s private life. By late 2000, QC’s pages and received gracious prayers and words of encourageI was writing regularly for QC. ment from so many FLC staff and QC readers that helped me heal. Over the ensuing 22 years, I’ve written about policy, politics and When our nation was confronted by the death of George Floyd and the personal challenges (and joys) of public service. I have often our failure to love all of our neighbors as ourselves, I unfolded a employed metaphors and analogies to connect the unique realities painful account of my own implicit bias, and I hoped to encourage of public service to the more familiar. There was the blue hermore of us to take that deep look in the mirror. on I watched one morning trying to swallow a very large catfish, It is said of preachers that each one has about six sermons in which came to symbolize the Catch-22 many cities have faced after them. What we hear week after week is simply the reworking of landing new businesses or residential developments without yet those themes with different material. It’s a sharp-edged, mildly

Our success in

influencing or elevating others is in proportion to their belief in our belief in them.





Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;

indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist

amusing and, perhaps, quite accurate claim. It’s one that likely applies as much to secular authors and lecturers as it does to ministers. Truthfully, when I think about all these years of writing and speaking, all the columns and programs and webinars and workshops, I think it essentially all boils down to a single theme. What you do as a public servant, and how you do it, matters. It matters far more than it appears, far more than you or anyone else will ever know.

The policy decisions matter, of course, as do the acts that implement them. Many of them are mundane, but communities are sustained in health and vitality by myriad mundane actions. A Council adopts a budget that funds positions, equipment and materials. The people in those positions monitor the water supply and the treatment of wastewater. They clean conference rooms and restrooms. They replace streetlights and signs. They maintain and position the equipment purchased so that the municipality and its residents are cared for as intended when the Council voted. Bills are paid, contracts awarded, budgets balanced, and next year’s budget is prepared. None of this is glamorous. All of it is vital to the health and well-being of every little downtown, every major commercial district, every bedroom community, every home. And you do it. Every day. You provide the direction, approve the resources and take the actions that make each Florida city someplace people can call home with a measure of pride and satisfaction. Of course, it’s not always smooth sailing. In times of conflict or crisis, tempers flare, people lose perspective, and sometimes communities lose their way. What you do in these moments can make an incredible difference. Each of us probably has a memory of someone who, against the forces of nature or the worst that is in human nature, spoke and acted boldly, helping to galvanize a people’s response to crisis and overcome that adversity. But, to be honest, it isn’t always the case that there is, or even can be, some set of actions that meet the current crisis and defeat it quickly. It’s especially in those moments when chaos reigns that the “how you do it” part of my theme comes to the fore. There might not be anything you or any one person or small group can do to steady the ship and calm the waters. But your calm, your determined commitment to the people you serve, even when they are serving up vitriol, makes more of a difference than you can

imagine. Ultimately, people want peace, and your calm suggests it is possible. They want security, and your commitment assures them that, somehow, they will be secured. They want hope. Your decision to believe in what is possible, when all seems lost, restores it. Whether my topic was ethics or leadership, communication or Home Rule, public finance or public participation, when I look back, I see one fundamental message woven through it all: What you do as a public servant, dear reader, and how you do it, matters. It matters far more than it appears, far more than you or anyone else will ever know. My time in elected office was a brief eight years. I’ve spent a much longer time working with public servants, spanning my adult life from age 19 to the present moment. I’m unlikely to add to the former; I can’t imagine not continuing in the latter. But I have imagined, in recent months, a new chapter, one that centers on my own community and my own little “city.” My family, counting the spouses of my married children and all the grandkids, is nearly as large or larger than the population of four of Florida’s cities! Turning that page means changing my relationship with the League and with you, dear reader. In August of this year, I will be retiring from my position as Director of Leadership Development and Education with FLC University. I’m not riding off into the sunset nor escaping to a remote island in the Pacific. I’m staying right here, in Florida, where I hope to contribute by other means to the good work we have been doing together. Exactly where and how our paths will cross again, dear reader, I do not know. But I suspect they will. People who care about their neighbors, about their communities, have a way of finding each other. They also have a way of figuring out not the ultimate solution to the great problems that face us, but the next thing they can do that makes a difference. You’ll go on making that difference, and I will, too. Inevitably, that means we’ll be working side-by-side, even if at a distance. What you will do, and how you will do it, matters. It will matter far more than you will ever know. Scott C. Paine, Ph.D., is Director of Leadership Development and Education for FLC University. He previously worked at the University of Tampa as Associate Professor of Communication and Government and served for eight years on Tampa’s City Council. QC THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 19

Access to Employment Law Attorneys at NO COST The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust’s exclusive Employment Law Advisor program offers access to a Florida-based attorney with significant public-sector employment law experience. And, the best part is there is no cost to members of the FMIT with liability coverage for employment practices. We can help with a wide range of employment-related matters, including: Hiring Discipline Promotion/Demotion Transfer Reassignment Layoff Termination ADA Compliance Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, Unfair Treatment and Retaliation


Help is only a phone call away. FMIT members can speak with an attorney Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by calling 888.368.FMIT (3648).



Aaron Carper:

Family Man, Traveler and Flip-Flop Fan


he best thing about working at the Florida League of Cities (FLC), according to Aaron Carper, is that there are no “typical days.” The variety of Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) membership needs range from billing questions to claim, enrollment and eligibility support to wellness programming, so no day is alike, said Aaron, Director of Group Health for FMIT. “I love watching the great team we have support our membership, and I love offering a service that makes a difference in people’s lives,” Aaron said. Co-workers point out that Aaron not only focuses on taking care of FMIT members, but he also shows the same concern for team members and other League employees. “Aaron truly wants to see his team succeed. He will take the time to listen to you and help or mentor you,” said Lindsey Larson, Account Executive. “He is also a great communicator. Everyone respects him because he shows such great respect for others.” “I’ve known Aaron for over 20 years,” said Clay Austin, Director of Trust Services. “I worked with him when I first moved to Orlando for a year or two, then again when we talked him into joining the League.” When asked for one word to describe Aaron, Clay said, “Compassionate. He truly cares about those around him, and it shows in his interactions with co-workers and members.” Gwen Mahabir, Hometown Health Manager, has worked with Aaron for nine years and appreciates his positive outlook. “Even during tough days, Aaron is always able to see the silver lining,” she said. “He is also empathetic and understands that ‘life happens’ for each of us outside our day-to-day duties and keeps a person-first approach in all of his interactions.” When he is not taking care of members or his team, Aaron spends time with his wife of 14 years and his 8-year-old twins. “I am a family man. I love my wife and kids and enjoy the ride of life with them,” he said. Travel is an important part of their life, with annual ski trips to Colorado and trips to the Bahamas and Hawaii. “I want to take a cruise with the kids and visit Europe with them when they are a little older.” Aaron’s most memorable experience at the League was bringing Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) into the FMIT Group Health Program in 2013. “It was the largest health account we had signed at the time and is still the largest today,” he said. “I have developed and fostered some of my best friendships with internal staff and FMIT membership through the day-to-day dealings of this account.” While Aaron is a good communicator and always represents the League in a professional manner, Gwen shared a secret about him. “He is not the biggest fan of dress shoes or loafers. He always keeps a pair of flip flops or sandals in his car and slides into them immediately after member meetings or a day at the office!” QC





FLC President Phillip E. Walker at the League’s Legislative Action Days.


Walker Guides FLC Centennial 100th year has shown ‘we’re stronger together’

by Kelli Gemmer Florida League of Cities



s the Florida League of Cities (FLC) enters the final phase of its centennial celebration, FLC President Phillip E. Walker is reflecting on a characteristic that has firmly tied the League and its cities together throughout 100 years: unity. “One thing that has led us throughout our history is our unified voice,” Walker said. In an era of political divisiveness, it’s refreshing to see, he said. That unity is particularly important due to the changes Florida has experienced over the years and continues to see. For one, many out-of-state residents have relocated to Florida during the pandemic, adding to the state’s tremendous population growth. “Since the League was established, Florida’s population has grown from fewer than 1 million residents to more than 21.5 million,” said Walker. Whether cities are looking for help with federal funding for pandemic recovery,

100 YEARS infrastructure investments, grants or the defense of Home Rule, the League and its cities always come together as one. When cities are united, they can shape legislation, share the advantages of cooperative action and exchange ideas and experiences. “Working together to solve problems has been a foundation of the League’s history,” said Walker. (For more information on the League’s history, read the cover feature in the first quarter issue of Quality Cities magazine at bit.ly/3P3kk12.) The League continues to be proactive and collaborative in its efforts to help municipal governments in Florida. Last year, FLC launched a grants assistance program in partnership with eCivis to help cities of all sizes find, apply for and manage grants. The League also continued its monthly #FLCitiesStrong webinar series to guide and inform its members on relevant topics such as the American Rescue Plan Act, the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, cybersecurity and more. Advocacy has remained a vital component of the League’s mission. “This long-time collaboration continues today as municipal officials across the state advocate year-round to protect local decision-making authority against legislative preemptions.” (Read about advocating year-around on p. 42.)


During Walker’s presidency, the FLC unveiled The Advo-Kit, a comprehensive advocacy toolkit for municipal officials, and launched Local Voices United (LVU). This grassroots advocacy program will arm municipal officials with the tools and resources to engage Florida’s residents in promoting decision-making at the local level. (For more information on LVU, visit localvoicesunited. com.) In addition, the League’s Legislative Action Days saw its highest attendance in the event’s history. History is often a good predictor of the future, and for Florida’s cities, the future is as bright as its past. “Together, alongside the League and our fellow municipal officials, we can continue to advocate on behalf of our residents and shape Florida’s future,” said Walker. “History has shown that we’re stronger together. We know this now more than ever.” Kelli Gemmer is the Assistant Editor for the Florida League of Cities. QC

ANNUAL CONFERENCE TO CELEBRATE 100 YEARS The Florida League of Cities (FLC) Annual Conference will highlight the 100th year of the League with a formal gala, History Hub and the announcement of an exciting new initiative. Pack your tuxes, suits and fancy dresses for the 100th Anniversary Gala on Saturday night. The gala will include a sit-down dinner and entertainment from nationally renowned magician/comedian Justin Willman. Learn more about the League’s history at the History Hub near the registration area. The Hub will include mementos, scrapbooks and a video with voices from the past. Stop by the League exhibit in the center of the exhibit hall to pick up a 100th-year commemorative giveaway. First come, first served.

Also, this year’s Conference will include the launch of the FLC University Certificate Program for Elected Municipal Officials. The Program will recognize elected officials who take advantage of the League’s training opportunities, including the annual conference. By participating in FLC University training events, members earn points that are automatically tracked and awarded. More details will be released at the Conference. The Conference will be held August 11-13 at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood. Registration will be available on-site. For more information, see the Conference details on the following pages, or go to bit.ly/3qJAEbJ.



The Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood August 11-13, 2022

On-site registration available #FLCities2022




TENTATIVE SCHEDULE Following is a tentative schedule of conference events. Be sure to check our website for updates! WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2022 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Research Symposium Additional registration required through the League’s Center for Municipal Research; contact Wade Burkley at wburkley@flcities.com.

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Florida League of Mayors Board of Directors Meeting

2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Florida League of Mayors Forum Additional registration required through the Florida League of Mayors; contact Rachel Embleton at rembleton@flcities.com.

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Legislative Policy Committee Meetings Finance, Taxation and Personnel Land Use and Economic Development Municipal Administration Transportation and Intergovernmental Relations Utilities, Natural Resources and Public Works

THURSDAY, AUGUST 11, 2022 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Registration Desk Open 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Continuing Education in Ethics: Have You Completed Your Hours? Florida’s municipal elected officers are required to take four hours of specific continuing education in ethics per year. If you haven’t completed your hours yet, this is your opportunity! The four-hour session includes two hours on the Florida Ethics Law (Chapter 112, Florida Statutes), one hour of public meetings (Chapter 286, Florida Statutes) and one hour of public records (Chapter 119, Florida Statutes). If your hours are completed, this class is a good refresher. NOTE: Registration is limited to the first 175 people and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Florida League of Mayors Nominating Committee Meeting 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Florida League of Mayors Business Meeting For more information, contact Rachel Embleton at rembleton@flcities.com.

12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open

1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. “Cities 101” Workshop If you are newly elected or newly appointed, this “crash course” is designed for you. Details about Florida municipalities, the services they provide and governing challenges will be discussed. This course is a prequel to the popular Institute for Elected Municipal Officials (IEMO) but is not a substitute for the three-day IEMO class. 3:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Workshops 4:45 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. Resolutions Committee Meeting 5:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. First-Time Attendees’ Orientation If this is your first FLC Conference, welcome! This workshop will acquaint you with the League, the conference program (with tips for the best use of your time), how to get involved in your local or regional league, FLC legislative policy committees and other municipal services.




TENTATIVE SCHEDULE 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. President’s Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2022 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. FREE Sunrise Yoga on the Beach Join us on the beach for a sunrise yoga class. Flow with grace in a variety of postures designed to open up your mind, body and heart. This relaxing class will be led by a certified personal trainer and is great for individuals at all levels of fitness. You don’t need to bring a yoga mat, but be sure to wear comfortable clothing. There is no charge for the event, but preregistration is required and the class is limited to the first 50 participants. 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Florida Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials Breakfast Additional registration required through the Florida Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials;

contact Nykierama Cooper at ncooper@flcities.com. 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast in the Exhibit Hall 7:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Registration Desk Open 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Federal Action Strike Team Meeting 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Workshops 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Opening General Session Featuring the presentation of the E. Harris Drew Municipal Official Lifetime Achievement Award and a keynote presentation by Ben Nemtin.

Ben Nemtin is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of “What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?” and a star of MTV’s highest-rated show on iTunes and Amazon called “The Buried Life.” As the co-founder of The Buried Life movement, Nemtin’s message of radical possibility has been featured on the “Today” show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” CNN, FOX and NBC News. President Barack Obama called Nemtin and The Buried Life “inspiration for a new generation,” and Winfrey declared their mission “truly inspiring.”


In his first year of college, Nemtin was unexpectedly hit with a depression that forced him to drop out. To feel more alive, he created the world’s greatest bucket list with his three best friends. They borrowed a rickety, old recreational vehicle, crisscrossed North America and achieved the unthinkable. And most importantly, every time they accomplished a dream, they helped a stranger cross something off their bucket list. From playing basketball with Obama to having a beer with Prince Harry, from reuniting a father and son after 17 years to surprising a young girl with a much-needed bionic arm, Nemtin’s bucket list quest has inspired millions to thrive personally and professionally.




TENTATIVE SCHEDULE 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Sidewalk Café in Exhibit Hall (Cash Sales)

9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Youth Council Program

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Workshops

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Annual Business Meeting

2:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Workshops

10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Second General Session Featuring recognition of the Years of Service awards and a keynote address by Mickey Smith Jr.

4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Workshops 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Membership Networking Event Evening Open SATURDAY, AUGUST 13, 2022 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Various Local/Regional League Breakfast Meetings Contact your local league for more information. 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Registration Desk Open

12:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Past Presidents’ Luncheon and Installation of New President 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Workshops 6:15 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. 100th Anniversary Gala See next page for all the exciting details! Schedule and speakers subject to change.

Educa-tainer Mickey Smith Jr. is a Grammy Music Educator Award recipient who hails from a forgotten community in Louisiana and now stands on phenomenal stages encouraging people to “See the Sound and Keep On Going.” Smith is an acclaimed international speaker, saxophonist, author, master development coach and self-management strategist. He is committed to encouraging and equipping people with the tools to “Discover Their Sound” of significance and “Keep On Going” with resilience. Smith specializes in engaging, educating and elevating every audience member to excellence. Smith believes that everyone has a “sound” (a significance) that has the power to resonate with others and create a shift in thoughts and perspectives.


Smith’s motivational mixture of music and message teaches how to reach people with consistency, intention and strategy.




100TH ANNIVERSARY GALA Saturday, August 13 6:15 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. 100th Anniversary Gala Pack your suits, tuxes and fancy

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dresses because we’re celebrating the League’s 100th anniversary with an evening that’s sure to be memorable. Following a sit-down dinner, you’ll be amazed by the magical talents of Justin Willman. After the show, enjoy dessert and dancing late into the night.

Magician/comedian and recent Critics’ Choice Awards nominee Justin Willman has cemented himself as one of today’s most prolific entertainers.


In 2018, Willman premiered his six-episode magic series on Netflix titled “Magic for Humans.” In the series, Willman brings his skills as a magician to America’s strange and misunderstood subcultures while incorporating his disarming demeanor into street magic and social experiments that will boggle the mind. IndieWire called Willman the “perfect magician/hybrid prototype with incredible comedic timing,” and Rotten Tomatoes has the show listed at an 85% audience approval. The Los Angeles Times exclaimed that Willman is “a new breed of magician who’s making magic cool again for grown-ups.” Before “Magic for Humans,” Willman was known for his multiple appearances on “The Tonight Show,” “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and “Conan.” He also performed live at the White House for the Obama family. His debut comedy/ magic special “Sleight of Mouth with Justin Willman” premiered on Comedy Central in 2015 to rave reviews.





Introducing the FLC University Certificate Program for Elected Municipal Officials! As a local elected official, you diligently serve your cities and residents while being faced with numerous challenges and navigating an ever-changing landscape of state and federal laws and regulations. To support your efforts, the Florida League of Cities continues to offer a variety of in-person and virtual educational opportunities to help municipal officials learn about the latest issues, trends and best practices. We know the time commitment and dedication you put toward training and continuing education, and we want to reward hardworking officials like you who take time out of their busy days to participate in these valuable programs! The FLC University is launching a NEW program called the Certificate Program for Elected Municipal Officials to recognize elected officials who consistently take part in the League’s many training opportunities.

After the program launches at the 2022 FLC Annual Conference, you will have a chance to earn points for FLC University activities you participate in from August to July each year. Getting started is easy! After signing up for the program online, the points will be automatically tracked and awarded through registrations in the FLC database. We look forward to recognizing dedicated elected municipal leaders for their efforts to provide excellent service to Florida’s cities and their residents! A certificate from the FLC University is a great way to show your continued commitment to learning about Florida-specific municipal issues and improving your leadership skills. Look for additional information on this exciting new recognition program in the coming months!






AccessRec, LLC................................................................ 88 Acentria Public Risk ........................................................ 91 Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS)........................... 21 Advanced Plumbing Technology (APT)...................... 107 AirBox, LLC....................................................................... 115 Ajax Building Company................................................... 71 Alternative Claims Management ............................... 123 American Flood Coalition............................................. 118 American Sidewalk Management .............................. 114 AquaWorx....................................................................... 106 Artistic Holiday Designs ................................................ 27 Asphalt Zipper, Inc. ......................................................... 93 Bandit Industries, Inc. .................................................... 83 The Benecon Group ........................................................ 121 Bureau Veritas North America, Inc.............................. 56 BuyBoard Purchasing Cooperative ............................. 85 C.A.P. Government, Inc.................................................. 92 CPH, Inc............................................................................. 86 Calvin, Giordano & Associates, A SAFEbuilt Company...................................................................... 49 Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC................................................ 7 Cascade Cart Solutions ................................................. 31 Charles Abbott Associates, Inc. (CAA)........................ 52 Chen Moore and Associates, Inc................................... 99 Christmas Decor by Southeast Works, Inc............... 126 CityBase ........................................................................... 44 CivicPlus .............................................................................. 3 Clarke ............................................................................... 104 Comcast Business .................................................... 55, 57 Complete Solutions Consulting ...................................... 9 Custom Tree Care, Inc.................................................... 112 DRC Emergency Services ............................................ 108 DebrisTech, LLC............................................................. 109 Dewberry Engineers, Inc................................................ 89 Duke Energy ............................................................... 65, 66 e3 Solutions..................................................................... 130 eCivis ...................................................................... tabletop ENGIE N.A. ....................................................................... 26 Edmunds GovTech ........................................................... 17 eLuminaire Corporation ............................................... 124 Enterprise Fleet Management.................................... 133 FCC Environmental Services......................................... 96 FLCLASS........................................................................... 60 FLSTAR.............................................................................. 59 Federated Hermes.......................................................... 29 FieldTurf............................................................................ 28 Florida Association of City Clerks ................................ 12 Florida Association of Recovery Residences ............ 135




Florida Benchmarking Consortium (FBC)................ 119 Florida Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, Inc. (FBC-LEO)............................... tabletop Florida City and County Managers Association...... 120 Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection ....... 138 Florida Green Building Coalition......................................1 Florida League of Cities ................................................ 54 Florida Local Government Information Systems Association ...................................... tabletop Florida Power & Light Co. ....................................... 68, 69 Florida Regional Councils Association ........................ 15 Florida Sheriffs Association .......................................... 16 FORTA ................................................................................. 5 Fortress Secured............................................................. 43 Freebee ............................................................................. 36 Frey Municipal Software .............................................. 131 GFL Solid Waste Southeast, LLC .............................. 102 Gannon Emergency Solutions, LLC ............................ 62 Gehring Group ................................................................. 97 GovDeals........................................................................... 79 Government Services Group, Inc. .................................. 11 GovPilot ............................................................................ 33 Granicus ............................................................................ 95 Greenfields Outdoor Fitness ................................ 110, 111 The Haskell Company.................................................... 134 Hotwire Communications ............................................. 70 IBT Group, LLC ................................................................ 34 Jacobs ............................................................................... 73 James Moore & Co.......................................................... 72 Johnson Controls, Inc.................................................... 129 Jones Edmunds & Associates, Inc. .............................. 40 KorKat ............................................................................... 76 MSL CPAs and Advisors ................................................ 41 Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC.................................................. 64 Miller Legg ........................................................................ 22 MRA International ......................................................... 132 Musco Sports Lighting .................................................. 94 The NCL Service Line Program by HomeServe ....... 101 NCR Payments & Network ............................................ 47 Nokia................................................................................... 77 No Kid Hungry Florida................................................... 137 Nova Southeastern University ..................................... 82 NovoaGlobal, Inc. ........................................................... 116 OSG – Output Services Group.................................... 125 OpenCounter ................................................................... 80 PGAL.................................................................................. 90 Pioneer Records Management..................................... 35





Playworx – Little Tikes Commercial Playgrounds.... 63 PMA Financial Network, LLC........................................ 78 Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust ................. 122 Project Opioid ....................................................... tabletop Property Registration Champions, LLC dba PROCHAMPS.............................................................. 25 RDK Truck Sales................................................................. 4 RESPECT of Florida......................................................... 13 RTS Water Solutions, LLC............................................. 24 Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA) ... 128 Republic Services of Florida, Limited Partnership............................................................. 74, 75 Retail Strategies ............................................................. 117 Right Service at the Right Time .................................... 14 Rubrik.................................................................................. 18 SDR ...................................................................................... 8 Safe Mobility for Life Coalition................................... 136 Schneider Electric ........................................................... 39 Senior HealthCare Solutions......................................... 10 Siemens Industry............................................................. 45 Sigelock Systems, LLC ................................................ 105 Spatial Data Logic.......................................................... 42 Spectrum Enterprise...................................................... 67 Stalker Radar.............................................................. 19, 20 Sweeping Corporation of America ............................. 98 TD Bank N.A...................................................................... 61 Televic ................................................................................. 51 Top Line Recreation, Inc................................................. 84 Traffic Cones for Less .................................................... 81 Trane Technologies, Inc. ................................................ 113 Transportation Solutions & Lighting, Inc. ................... 37 Underground Refuse Systems Inc. ................................ 6 UNIQUE Paving Materials Corp................................. 103 University of Florida Florida-Friendly Landscaping ... 2 The Urban Group, Inc. .................................................. 100 U.S. Flood Control.......................................................... 127 U.S. Water Services Corporation ................................ 48 VC3..................................................................................... 38 Vortex Aquatic Structures ............................................ 46 WGI, Inc............................................................................. 87 WM .............................................................................. 50, 53 Walker Consultants ....................................................... 30 Waste Connections of Florida, Inc. .............................. 23 Waste Pro USA................................................................ 58 Wright-Pierce.................................................................... 32

PLATINUM SPONSORS AECOM Coastal Waste & Recycling Comcast Business Granicus Hotwire Communications LSN Partners, LLC Smart Rain Verra Mobility Ygrene Energy Fund GOLD SPONSORS ABM Ameresco InterDev Johnson Controls, Inc. No Kid Hungry NORESCO Orange Data Rubrik Varis SILVER SPONSORS Baxter & Woodman, Inc. FORTA Hilltop Securities Inc. National Energy USA Spectrum Enterprise Wright-Pierce








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hroughout its rich history, the Florida League of Cities (FLC) has been honored by the outstanding caliber of the municipal officials serving on its Board of Directors. The active participation of these dedicated and experienced city officials continues to be an important factor in measuring the League’s effectiveness. The result has been 100 years of progressive leadership and innovative programs for Florida’s local governments. The Board of Directors is the governing body of the League. It is composed of a President, First Vice President and Second Vice President; all past Presidents who are still in office; 32 directors representing 14 geographical districts; a seat for an official serving in his or her 50th or more year in office and one director from each of the state’s 10 most populous cities. A non-voting member is authorized from the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA), and the League’s Executive Director/CEO serves as Secretary-Treasurer. The duties of the Board and Executive Director/CEO are outlined in the League’s Charter and Bylaws. For a copy, visit flcities.com or call the League at 850.222.9684.

President Phillip E. Walker Commissioner Lakeland

First Vice President Jolien Caraballo Vice Mayor Port St. Lucie

Second Vice President Greg Ross Mayor Cooper City

Robert F. Apgar Mayor DeLand District 3 Director

Patricia Bates Mayor Altamonte Springs Past President

Juan Carlos ”JC” Bermudez Mayor Doral District Director 14

Scott Black Commissioner Dade City Past President

Esteban Bovo Jr. Mayor Hialeah 6th Most Populous City

Traci L. Callari Commissioner Hollywood District 13 Director

Joseph Citro Councilmember Tampa 3rd Most Populous City

Joy Cooper Mayor Hallandale Beach Past President




Joseph Corradino Mayor Pinecrest District 14 Director

John Dailey Mayor Tallahassee 7th Most Populous City

Louie Davis Mayor Waldo District 5 Director

Todd Drosky Commissioner Deerfield Beach District 13 Director

Sam Fite Vice Mayor Bowling Green District 7 Director

Fred Forbes Councilman Bonita Springs District 11 Director

Susan Gibbs Thomas Councilmember Indiantown District 9 Director

Kimberly Glas-Castro Vice Mayor Lake Park District 12 Director

Lawrence Gordon Vice Mayor Haverhill District 12 Director

John Gunter Mayor Cape Coral 10th Most Populous City

Rodney Harris Mayor Miami Gardens District 14 Director

Jake Hill Councilmember Lake City District 2 Director

Jeff Hmara Councilman Royal Palm Beach District 12 Director

Leo E. Longworth Commissioner Bartow Past President

Bob Mayersohn Commissioner Parkland District 13 Director

Carol McCormack Mayor Palm Shores District 4 Director




Joseph McMullen Commissioner Oakland District 6 Director

Dominick Montanaro Vice Mayor Satellite Beach District 4 Director

Heather Moraitis Vice Mayor Fort Lauderdale 8th Most Populous City

Stephanie Morgan Councilwoman Port St. Lucie 9th Most Populous City

Samuel Newby Council President Jacksonville 1st Most Populous City

Frank C. Ortis Mayor Pembroke Pines Past President

Antonio “Tony” Ortiz Commissioner Orlando Past President

William Partington Mayor Ormond Beach District 3 Director

Tyler Payne Mayor Treasure Island District 8 Director

Michael Pleus City Manager DeLand FCCMA Ex-Officio Member

Gary Resnick Commissioner Wilton Manors District 13 Director

Jamie Robinson Commissioner Largo District 8 Director

Cal Rolfson Councilmember Mount Dora District 5 Director

Ken Russell Commissioner Miami 2nd Most Populous City

Isaac Salver Council Member Bay Harbor Islands Past President

William Schaetzle Mayor Pro Tem Niceville District 1 Director




Iris Siple Commissioner Pembroke Pines District 13 Director

Susan Starkey Councilwoman Davie District 13 Director

Robert Stuart Commissioner Orlando 5th Most Populous City

Matthew D. Surrency Commissioner Hawthorne Past President

Crystal Wagar Councilmember Miami Shores District 14 Director

Marlene Wagner Vice Mayor Lake Hamilton District 7 Director

Kenneth T. Welch Mayor St. Petersburg 4th Most Populous City

J.B. Whitten Mayor Crestview District 1 Director

Beverly Williams Vice Mayor Lauderdale Lakes District 13 Director

Brian Williams Commissioner Palmetto District 10 Director

Rosemary Wilsen Mayor Pro Tem Ocoee District 6 Director

Jeannie Garner Executive Director/CEO

Kraig Conn General Counsel


FLC KEEPING YOU INFORMED OF THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT The American Rescue Plan Act provides cities with funding from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund and offers eligibility for other funding. The Florida League of Cities’ goal is to keep members informed and prepared.


flcities.com/rescueplan Tips and information for cities regarding the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.

The League will launch a series of #FLCitiesStrong webinars to help guide members.

Information about the funding for Florida’s cities.

The League will share information and resources via email and social media from the Department of Treasury and the National League of Cities.

Important information about the funding allocated for Florida’s cities in the 2021 American Rescue Act Plan. News, resources and updates from the League and our partners.

The League is sharing a list of frequently asked questions on flcities.com.





Florida Race to Zero Cohort

22 cities pledge to work toward carbon neutrality


by James Miller Florida League of Cities





he Florida League of Cities (FLC) is excited to announce the municipalities participating in the Race to Zero Cohort. The Florida Race to Zero is a friendly competition between Florida’s Mayors designed to showcase how their cities are leading the way to climate neutrality through the Cities Race to Zero pledge. The League is underwriting the costs for these 22 municipalities. The Florida Race to Zero is part of a global Race to Zero campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, governments and investors for a healthy, resilient and decarbonized economy. Mayors across Florida have made ambitious pledges to make their cities carbon neutral. The mission of this coalition is to serve as a platform to amplify their work, collaborate with one another and encourage other Mayors and cities to “join the race” and make similar pledges. The 22 cities chosen are part of a “cohort” – a structured, technical assistance training program that will guide participants toward tangible results. The League’s investment will allow participants to access the technical assistance and expertise of national and regional organizations. The municipalities will: ▸ Develop a baseline inventory of local greenhouse gas emissions ▸ Set a 2030 science-based target and identify high-impact actions that align with the global Race to Zero ▸ Create capacity to act among city staff and elected officials ▸ Prepare to expand climate action to include adaptation and resilience. Each participant will receive assistance in: ▸ Conducting greenhouse gas inventories and developing science-based targets ▸ Developing an action plan (including a stakeholder engagement component) ▸ Implementing the plan ▸ Reporting results. Each municipality designated one employee as a point of contact and local lead and has committed 15 hours per month of staff time over the course of the program. The participating municipalities will be recognized for their effort and commitment at the 2022 FLC Annual Conference in August.

Cohort Municipalities City of Apopka City of Boca Raton City of Bowling Green City of Cape Coral City of Coconut Creek City of Cooper City City of Coral Gables City of DeLand City of Delray Beach

City of Oakland Park

Town of Havana

City of Pompano Beach

City of Key West

City of Sanibel

City of Lake Worth Beach

City of St. Petersburg

Village of Miami Shores

City of Stuart

City of Miramar

City of Sunny Isles Beach

City of Mount Dora

Village of Tequesta

Resources at FloridaRaceToZero.com ▸ ▸ ▸ ▸ ▸ ▸

An overview of the friendly competition City news regarding the initiative Access to webinars on the effort and federal funding Reprints of articles on climate impact by city leaders Reprints of opinion columns about city efforts by local leaders Opportunity to sign up for emails to stay up to date.

James Miller is the Associate Director of Communications for the Florida League of Cities. QC






Improvements Through Gainsharing

Winter Haven program brings creative ideas for city operations by Kelli Gemmer Florida League of Cities


lorida’s cities are committed to continuous improvement, and sometimes all that takes is a bright idea. This entrepreneurial spirit is the essence of the City of Winter Haven’s Bright Ideas Innovation Program. The new program, which launched in April, involves the practice of gainsharing, where employees are incentivized to share ideas that benefit an organization or community. “The employees closest to the work know best how to get that work done,” said City Manager Mike Herr. “Gainsharing is a way of rewarding employees for ideas that improve customer service, save money or create efficiencies.” Inspiration for Bright Ideas came from a similar program that Herr led when he served as County Manager at Polk County. It was named the Suggestions Help Increase and Nurture Excellence (SHINE) employee suggestion program. Bright Ideas was formed as part of Winter Haven’s commitment 40 QUALITY CITIES | THIRD QUARTER 2022

to becoming a city that can tap into the innovative capacity of the people who live and work there. This commitment began three years ago when the City completed a strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) analysis to identify key areas the City could improve on. As a result, Winter Haven formed five teams of employees, called Key Result Area (KRA) Teams, tasked with shaping the future of the City. Team Two, dedicated to process improvement and innovation, included staff members from different departments, from police to fire to planning. They collaborated to create Bright Ideas. “Gainsharing has been a focus with private companies, but I think it is a revolutionary concept for local government,” said Rob van Druten, Business Technology Support Manager and KRA Team Two Leader. “We’re trying to build that entrepreneurial spirit and culture by innovating and being progressive in our initiatives.” To collect these shared ideas, the City has partnered with




Joanna Pena, Winter Haven’s first employee to submit a Bright Idea.

Ideawake, an idea management software made specifically for innovation. Winter Haven is the first government entity in the United States and the second in the world to use this platform. The clear and easy system allows employees of any level or department to share their city improvement ideas as an individual, team or department. The software, which supports more than 500 users, costs approximately $17,000 annually and comes from the City’s information technology budget. The initial amount budgeted for gainsharing is $15,000 and comes from the human resources budget, with a line item for organization effectiveness. Employees whose adopted ideas demonstrate cost savings or increases in revenue are eligible for a gainsharing amount of 10% of the first year’s projected net savings or generated revenue, with a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $3,000. Adopted ideas that demonstrate productivity improvement or cost avoidance are eligible for a gainsharing amount of 5% of the first year’s projected savings attributable to the cost avoidance, with a minimum of $50 and a maximum of $1,500. Adopted ideas that improve customer service or safety but have no measurable cost savings or cost avoidance are eligible for $100. The program is led by an Innovation Team that monitors the submissions daily and provides mentorship and feedback at every step of the process. The program also offers a degree of transparency within the City. Submitters can see where their idea is in the process and all the other ideas that have been submitted. They also receive notices as their idea moves through the process and can comment and provide feedback on submissions on the platform, encouraging cross-departmental communication and collaboration. For employees who aren’t comfortable with technology, the City hosts Innovation Sessions, where staff members walk employees through the process. Ideas generated move through a six-step process: 1. Employees submit a short description of their idea on the platform or at one of the in-person Innovation Sessions. 2. The employee works with innovation advisors to create a prototype of their idea. 3. The employee further develops their idea into a complete business case. Innovation advisors and subject matter experts are available to mentor and assist this process.

4. The employee presents their business case to the Bright Ideas Innovation Review Committee. The Committee evaluates the business case and prototype carefully and determines if the idea is ready and eligible for implementation. 5. The employee helps lead the implementation of their idea. 6. The employee receives their gainsharing award. In addition to improving customer service and being financially responsible with cost-saving and cost avoidance measures, the program also aims to involve the community in vetting ideas. Members of the community, particularly subject matter experts, serve on the Bright Ideas Innovation Review Committee alongside city staff members. Since the program’s launch, the City has had 25 ideas submitted by 21 employees, and 77 employees have signed in and created their innovation accounts. Ideas have included virtual reality for police training and a digital budget book to better digitally serve residents and improve transparency. The City will also maintain an archive of ideas that aren’t moved forward right away. The Bright Ideas program is a long-term initiative that is here to stay, said Hiep Nguyen, Smart City Officer. “I foresee it being part of our DNA. It’s a part of what we do, how we onboard new employees and how we attract and retain talent. It’s a confluence of many things that we want to achieve,” Nguyen said. “These ideas have been floating around. People just needed a space to share them.” This new initiative not only amplifies the voice of the City’s employees and provides incentives for their engagement, but it also benefits Winter Haven residents. Connie Minich, Organization Development Specialist, said, “Being an entrepreneur, having the capability to be creative and innovative together as a team, no matter what department you work in, we know is a win-win for us as a city, for our employees, as well as for our citizens and community.” Kelli Gemmer is the Assistant Editor for the Florida League of Cities. QC




Get to Know the Candidates – Build Relationships Now Use advocacy strategies this post-reapportionment election season by Scott Dudley Florida League of Cities


ith the regular 2022 Legislative Session and special sessions in the books, it may seem like a time to take a break from advocacy. However, advocacy doesn’t stop with session. It’s a year-round process that is critical to building and maintaining relationships with your legislators. Now in particular is a crucial time to lay the foundation for relationships, and not just because this is an election year. Once every 10 years following the decennial census, the Legislature redraws the districts from which Florida voters elect their legislators, including state Representatives,

state Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and all of these seats are up for election this year. Approximately 30% of the next Florida Legislature will be newly elected. ARE YOUR HOUSE OR SENATE DISTRICTS CHANGING?

The redistricting process may have had an impact in your municipality. Visit floridaredistricting.gov to learn which districts will represent your city. Then you can find out what candidates have filed to run in those districts by visiting bit.ly/3xlXHyh.


Once you learn who the candidates are, take time to learn about the candidates. Who are the viable candidates? Do they have local government experience? What do they know about your city? Are they seeking your endorsement? Recognizing that this is an election year, many candidates will likely seek your endorsement, so be judicious with who you endorse. Find out exactly where candidates stand on issues that are important to you and your citizens before endorsing them. An

Redistricting and Reapportionment Redistricting is the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts to adjust for uneven growth rates. Districts determine which voters participate in which elections. The Florida Constitution directs the Legislature to redraw district boundaries at its regular session in the second year following each decennial census.

Florida Increases Between the 2010 and 2020 Decennial Census

Resident population in Florida: 18,801,310 to 21,538,187.

Average number of people in each congressional district: 696,345 to 769,221.

Average number of people in each of 120 state House districts: 156,678 to 179,485.

Average number of people in each of 40 state Senate districts: 470,033 to 538,455.

Reapportionment is the redistribution of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states, based on the decennial census. Each state gets at least one seat. In this 2022 election year, Florida will have 28 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, increasing from the last decade. Source: floridaredistricting.gov




ADVOCACY excellent way for you and your citizens to get to know candidates is through a candidate forum. This may be something you can coordinate with your local/regional league. BE A RESOURCE FOR THE CANDIDATE

There are many ways to build your relationships by providing invaluable assistance to candidates. Help them understand the functions of municipal government and share your city’s story and the priorities of your city. Familiarize potential legislators with your city by inviting them to a meeting or giving a tour of a city facility or recent project. Show them where some of the problems are, and make sure the legislator understands what some of the issues are that are important to your community. Talk about how you’re spending the American

Rescue Plan Act funds. Share with them how you helped citizens after the pandemic. Provide them with a copy of your city’s final adopted budget. The more candidates and current legislators understand about cities and what you do, the more likely they will consider this information before their next vote. As a city official, you are a recognized leader in their communities. You can help introduce candidates to citizens by walking a precinct with them. Introduce candidates to small-business owners in your community. Building that knowledge and relationship now will help so that when bills are filed during session, your legislator is thinking of how that will affect the cities they represent. If the candidate is an incumbent, thank them personally and publicly for their positive efforts during the session. If they voted for issues that will preempt cities,


respectfully ask why they took a position that may not have been in the interest of local decision-making. Help them understand how their decisions affect their cities and citizens back home so that they’re better educated going into the next session. Finally, share your efforts with us by emailing me at sdudley@flcities.com. The more we know about your efforts, the more it may help us when we are speaking with legislators. Our dedicated team of legislative advocates is here to help ensure local voices are making local choices in our cities. Scott Dudley is the Director of Field Advocacy and Federal Affairs for the Florida League of Cities. QC

League Resources The Florida League of Cities (FLC) offers resources to help with your advocacy efforts:

The Advo-Kit. This comprehensive advocacy toolkit for elected officials has sections on advocacy tips for beginners, building relationships with legislators, crafting your message and more. Visit flcities.com/toolkit.

2022 Legislative Session Final Report. This report summarizes key legislation the League tracked this session and all bills related to issues on the 2022 Legislative Action Agenda. Visit flcities.com/advocacy.

2022 FLC Home Rule Hero Award Recipients Recipients of the Home Rule Hero Award are local government officials, both elected and nonelected, who consistently responded to the Florida League of Cities’ request to reach out to members of the Legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue. This year, the following municipal officials are receiving the award, and there are a record number of Home Rule Hero recipients. We thank you! To learn how you can be a Home Rule Hero, go to bit. ly/3v3Gq8p. Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch, City of Sarasota Mayor Robert F. Apgar, City of DeLand Commissioner David Ashbrook, City of Port St. Joe City Manager Terry Atchley, City of Wauchula City Manager Courtney H. Barker, City of Satellite Beach Councilor Thom Barnhorn, City of Seminole Vice Mayor Joyce D. Barton, Town of Melbourne Beach Mayor Pat Bates, City of Altamonte Springs Communications and Government Relations Administrator Lana Beck, City of Pinellas Park Councilmember Kathleen Beckman, City of Clearwater City Manager Michael Beedie, City of Fort Walton Beach Commissioner B.J. Bishop, Town of Longboat Key Commissioner Scott Black, City of Dade City Mayor Nathan Blackwell, City of St. Cloud

Mayor Michael Blake, City of Cocoa City Manager Tim Bolduc, City of Crestview Commissioner Rufus Borom, City of Palatka Deputy City Manager George S. Brown, City of Boca Raton Village Manager Howard W. Brown Jr., Village of Indiantown Mayor Woody Brown, City of Largo Commissioner Becky Bruner, City of Stuart Council Member Richard Bryan, City of Daytona Beach Shores Roget Bryan City Clerk Debra R. Buff, City of Belle Glade Support Services Director Al Butler, City of Ocoee Commissioner Traci L. Callari, City of Hollywood Town Manager Sarah Campbell, Town of Orange Park Vice Mayor Jolien Caraballo, City of Port St. Lucie




2022 FLC Home Rule Hero Award Recipients (continued) Commissioner Carol Carter, City of Anna Maria Commissioner Joy Carter, City of Coral Springs Town Manager Daniel P. Clark, PE, Town of Lake Clarke Shores Commissioner Chris Cloudman, City of DeLand Mayor Gib Coerper, City of Alachua Mayor Daniel J. Comerford III, Town of Jupiter Inlet Colony Commissioner Carolyn Cooper, City of Winter Park Mayor John Dailey, City of Tallahassee Mayor Bradley T. Dantzler, City of Winter Haven Commissioner Lisa Kane DeVitto, City of Crescent City Council Member Ed Dodd, City of Sebastian Fire Rescue Chief and Director Emergency Management Darrel Donatto, Town of Palm Beach Vice Mayor Anthony Dowling, Village of Indiantown Commissioner Joe Elliott, City of Wildwood Councilwoman Mary Estime-Irvin, City of North Miami Councilman Shaun Ferguson, City of Rockledge City Manager Brenda Fettrow, City of Rockledge Vice Mayor Robert S. Fite Jr., City of Bowling Green Councilman Fred Forbes, City of Bonita Springs Governmental Relations Manager Stevie FreemanMontes, City of Sarasota Town Manager Lee Garner, Town of Sneads Mayor Jackie Gary Clarke, Village of Indiantown Commissioner Eric Gerard, City of Largo Mayor Anne Gerwig, Village of Wellington Councilwoman Mindy Gibson, City of Satellite Beach Deputy City Attorney Ella Gilbert, City of Port St. Lucie Vice-Mayor Kimberly Glas-Castro, Town of Lake Park Deputy Mayor Stuart Glass, Town of Indialantic Mayor Ellen Glasser, City of Atlantic Beach City Manager Reese Goad, City of Tallahassee Councilwoman Sandy Golding, City of Jacksonville Beach Village Manager Jorge M. Gonzalez, Village of Bal Harbour Commissioner Jeff Gow, City of Dunedin Assistant City Manager Mike Grebosz, City of DeLand Mayor John Gunter, City of Cape Coral Commissioner TiAnna Hale, City of Winter Springs Town Manager Thomas Harmer, Town of Longboat Key Mayor Janice Hart, Town of Havana Mayor Pro Tem Shannon Hayes, City of Crestview Council Member Janet Hernández, Village of Indiantown City Manager Mike Herr, City of Winter Haven


Mayor Heidi K. Herzberg, City of Deltona Mayor Christine Hoffman, City of Jacksonville Beach Council President Denise Horland, City of Plantation Mayor Linda Hudson, City of Fort Pierce Code Enforcement Officer Steven Hunnicutt, City of Davenport Commissioner Sabrina Javellana, City of Hallandale Beach Commissioner Curtis Johnson Jr., City of Fort Pierce Steve Kennedy, City Manager, City of Green Cove Springs Councilwoman NanDrycka King Albert, City of Midway Mayor Brent Latham, North Bay Village Lori LaVerriere Mayor Kenneth Lee, Town of Cross City Council Member Jordan Leonard, Town of Bay Harbor Islands Assistant City Attorney Naomi Levi Garcia, City of Coral Gables City Manager Shannon Lewis, City of Melbourne Vice Mayor Leo E. Longworth, City of Bartow Commissioner Jill Luke, City of North Port Mayor Jordan Marlowe, City of Newberry Mayor Rob Marlowe, City of New Port Richey Assistant City Manager Micah Maxwell, City of Clearwater Commissioner Bob Mayersohn, City of Parkland Mayor Carol M. McCormack, Town of Palm Shores Commissioner Debbie McDowell, City of North Port Commissioner Joseph McMullen, Town of Oakland City Manager Michael McNees, City of Marco Island Commissioner Michael Meier, City of Stuart City Clerk Judy Meyers, City of New Port Richey Commissioner Mike Miller, City of Cocoa Beach Mayor Nancy Miller, City of Daytona Beach Shores Vice Mayor Dominick Montanaro, City of Satellite Beach Vice Mayor Heather Moraitis, City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Janice D. Mortimer, City of Starke Joseph P. Murphy Mayor Jesse L. Nelson, City of Lynn Haven Council Member Dr. Joe Neunder, City of Venice Councilmember Bernie Oder, City of Mary Esther Vice Mayor Jim Olliver, City of Seminole Mayor Frank Ortis, City of Pembroke Pines Commissioner Tony Ortiz, City of Orlando Mayor Karen Ostrand, Town of Ocean Breeze Mayor Lois Paritsky, Town of Ponce Inlet Mayor Tyler Payne, City of Treasure Island City Manager William C. Poe Jr., City of Zephyrhills Vice Mayor Thomas B. Reid, City of South Pasadena Councilmember Joanne Ribble, Village of Estero Commissioner Jamie Robinson, City of Largo



2022 FLC Home Rule Hero Award Recipients (continued) Mayor Grover C. Robinson IV, City of Pensacola Council Member Cal Rolfson, City of Mount Dora Village Manager Ralph Rosado, North Bay Village Mayor Greg Ross, City of Cooper City City Manager Mark Ryan, City of Indian Harbour Beach Council Member Isaac Salver, Town of Bay Harbor Islands Mayor Dan Saracki, City of Oldsmar Council Member Bill Schaetzle, City of Niceville Town Manager William “Mac” Serda, Town of Hillsboro Beach Commissioner Tom Shelly, Town of Belleair City Manager Suzanne Sherman, City of Palm Bay Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline, City of St. Augustine Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons, City of Coral Springs Mayor Scott Singer, City of Boca Raton Mayor Holly D. Smith, City of Sanibel City Manager Matt Spoor, City of Safety Harbor Councilor Trish Springer, City of Seminole City Manager Mike Staffopoulos, City of Jacksonville Beach Council Member Susan Starkey, Town of Davie

Council Member Sarah Stoeckel, City of Titusville Council Member Guyton Stone, Village of Indiantown Commissioner Robert F. Stuart, City of Orlando Commissioner Matthew Surrency, City of Hawthorne Vice Mayor Jovante Teague, Town of Cross City Village Manager Christine M. Thrower-Skinner, Village of Golf Town Manager Jamie Titcomb, Town of Loxahatchee Groves City Manager Ann Toney-Deal, ICMA-CM, City of Seminole Mayor Chris Via, City of Holly Hill Vice Mayor Marlene Wagner, Town of Lake Hamilton Commissioner Phillip E. Walker, City of Lakeland Mayor Leslie Waters, City of Seminole Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr., City of Okeechobee Council Member Teresa Watkins Brown, City of Fort Myers Council Member Judy Wertz-Strickland, City of Arcadia Mayor JB Whitten, City of Crestview Commissioner Beverly Williams, City of Lauderdale Lakes Mayor Pro Tem Rosemary Wilsen, City of Ocoee City Clerk Dawn Wright, City of Eagle Lake City Manager Stefen Wynn, City of Neptune Beach

2022 John Land Years of Service Award Honorees The Florida League of Cities (FLC) years of service award program is named in honor of the late John Land, who served as Mayor of Apopka for more than 60 years. The League recognizes the following individuals for their many years of dedicated service as elected municipal officials. 20 YEARS OF SERVICE Commissioner Nancy Z. Daley, City of Lake Alfred Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Basher, City of Mascotte Mayor Carol M. McCormack, Town of Palm Shores Mayor Sandra L. Bradbury, City of Pinellas Park Commissioner William D. Dodson, City of Plant City Mayor Jim Hill, City of Sebastian Council President Mike Weeks, Town of Sneads Commissioner Ward Friszolowski, City of St. Pete Beach Councilmember Irvin Jackson, City of Waldo Councilmember Carolyn Wade, City of Waldo Commissioner Ralph Fisher, City of Wewahitchka Mayor Scott Newton, City of Wilton Manors 25 YEARS OF SERVICE Councilmember Mary A. Bigham, City of Coleman Vice Mayor David B. Norris, Village of North Palm Beach Councilmember Jeff Allebach, City of Orange City Councilmember Keith Britton, City of Oviedo Mayor Beverly “Bev” Smith, Village of Palm Springs Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant, City of Palmetto Commissioner Donna DeWitt, Town of St. Leo

Commissioner Joseph A. Scuotto, City of Sunrise Mayor Phillip Gaskin, City of Wewahitchka 30 YEARS OF SERVICE Councilmember Joe Tolleson, Town of Brooker Councilmember Linda Cain, City of Chipley Commissioner Judith B. West, City of Crescent City Commissioner H.L. “Roy” Tyler, City of Haines City Councilmember Cora Beechem, City of Jacob City Vice Mayor Robert M.W. Shalhoub, Town of Lake Clarke Shores Vice Mayor Tom DeVille, Town of Penney Farms Vice Mayor Jim Grimes, Town of Saint Lucie Village Mayor William Thiess, Town of Saint Lucie Village 35 YEARS OF SERVICE Commissioner George Duryea, City of Lake Mary Mayor Samuel G.S. Bennett, Town of Pierson 40 YEARS OF SERVICE Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr., City of Okeechobee


Grassroots Advocacy Expands

Residents can advocate for local decision-making! Help us spread the word about Local Voices United by encouraging residents to:

Visit localvoicesunited.com where they can learn about legislative issues, reach their local lawmakers and access advocacy tools and resources

Text Local Voices to 50457 to receive issue updates right to their phone

Like our Facebook page: Facebook.com/LocalVoicesUnited





April FLM regional dinner in Northeast Florida at the Mayport Naval Station, which was coordinated by Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser.


Mayors Share Best Practices

Ideas and advice improve ability to serve communities by Sheryl S. Jackson Florida League of Cities


he sports practice field at a park in the City of Crescent City has working lights now, but it wasn’t too long ago that parents used their car headlights to illuminate their children’s practices. “For several years, parents have asked for the City to replace the broken lights in the park,” said Mayor Michele Myers. “Before I was elected Mayor, we received an estimate of approximately $190,000 to replace the six lights on the sports field, but it was not approved by the City Commission because it was too much for the budget.” When she became Mayor, Myers wanted to take a second look at the issue. “I know how important recreational sports are for children, so I was determined to find a way to light the field.”

The solution came after asking Mayor Terrill Hill of the City of Palatka for ideas,

she said. “Mayors in our county talk regularly to each other, and Mayor Hill offered to have the person who handles lighting for his parks take a look at our park,” said Myers. About two months later, Hill and the lighting vendor met to evaluate the lighting needs of the park. “The new estimate to replace the old poles with new concrete poles along with lights was $94,500, a savings of about $90,000.” Working together to share best practices, advice and lessons learned is the primary goal of the Florida League of Mayors (FLM), said FLM President Mayor Scott Singer of the City of Boca Raton. “We’ve focused on helping Mayors improve communications among each other and with their communities,” he said. Training

has included seminars that teach how to communicate to address a crisis, resolve conflict and get work done. “We’ve had more than 100 attendees, virtually and in-person, at our seminars.” FLM meetings also address issues faced by all Mayors. The opioid crisis and how it affects cities in Florida was the topic of a June meeting, with a presentation provided by Project Opioid, a nonprofit organization that works with communities to increase awareness of and promote strategies to address addiction. “We wanted to support Project Opioid’s efforts and let Mayors know what resources exist to help them address the issue,” said Singer. The emphasis on communication does not stop with formal training sessions. This year, the FLM launched a series of Continued on page 49. THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 47


FEATURE Cape Coral Youth Council


Orange City Youth Advisory Council



Niceville Youth Advisory Council Project


Community Service Contest Winners Teens address local needs, make a difference

by Eryn Russell Florida League of Cities


he Florida League of Cities (FLC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Youth Council Community Service Contest. This contest invites municipal youth councils to submit projects that address a local need.


Members of the Cape Coral Youth Council recognized the increasing need to serve their community. They decided to challenge residents of the City of Cape Coral to perform acts of service within their City. The objectives of the challenge were action, awareness and advocating. Action entailed the Youth Council members participating in local cleanups. To spread awareness, Youth Council members attended local events to spread a message of community involvement and service. Advocating was accomplished by hosting a joint meeting with the Cape Coral City Council so that the Youth Council members could voice their ideas and concerns. 48 QUALITY CITIES | THIRD QUARTER 2022

FEATURE The Niceville Youth Advisory Council set a goal to help youth and families in need and partnered with a local nonprofit autism center, the Emerald Coast Autism Center (ECAC), to assist with their annual 5K race. On the day of the race, the Youth Council created and sponsored a carnival-like area with games, face painting and prizes and sold wristbands to raise money for the event. The Council also assisted with recruiting volunteers and providing directional signs and advertisements for the race. The Council helped the ECAC raise approximately $10,000 and looks forward to participating in future years.

Continued from page 47. New lights at Crescent City park.





The Orange City Youth Advisory Council collaborated with the City of Orange City’s Parks and Recreation Department for a cleanup at the City’s newest park, Mill Lake Park. Due to neglect, the park accumulated a large area of trash within the conservation section of the park, which is home to several native species. The Youth Council set a goal to remove the trash and restore the area. The Youth Council, along with local teachers and City Council members, removed approximately 2,340 pounds of waste from the conservation area. To find more information on municipal youth councils, please visit the League’s website at flcities.com/municipal-youth-councils. Eryn Russell is an Ambassador with the Florida League of Cities. QC

COUNCIL2COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS The Florida League of Cities (FLC) recently announced the recipients of the 2022 Council2College Scholarship, a scholarship that assists youth council leaders who are pursuing post-high school education. The contest requires graduating high school seniors to write an essay describing their most impactful experience as members of their youth councils and how that experience helped prepare them for college. Three scholarship recipients were selected. The firstplace tie recipients received $500, and second place received $250.

First place (tie): Carolina Wesley, Aventura Youth Advisory Board, and Arthur G. Codrington III, Hollywood Youth Ambassador Program

Second place: Tiana Jordan Leal Fontejon, Niceville Youth Advisory Council.

regional dinners and breakfasts to serve as informal get-togethers to discuss issues. Some of the events included a tour provided by the host City, said Singer. Monthly events that included virtual happy hours and “lunch and chats” also gave Mayors a chance to discuss best practices and share ideas. “These informal conversations are important because there is only one Mayor in a city at a time, so it is valuable to talk to others who are facing the same challenges or have the same questions as we do,” said Singer. The ideas don’t have to be groundbreaking or produce the same cost-savings that the Crescent City Mayor experienced to be beneficial, he said. At a recent regional meeting, Singer heard a suggestion on how to overcome roadblocks with Council Members who disagreed with a proposal. “What would it take for you to support this proposal?” is the question one of the other Mayors uses to find common ground and build consensus, said Singer. “Hearing about his success with this simple question led me to adopt it as I work with others,” he said. To improve training and communications beyond the one-year term of current Mayors, FLM has opened registration for some webinars to Vice or Deputy Mayors, said Singer. “We also don’t require FLM membership for our informal get-togethers, and we allow members to bring a guest to events.” The goal is to provide the support and education that mayors need to be effective and serve their cities, he added. “We have a very engaged membership – as evidenced by our strong involvement leading up to and during the legislative session this year.” Myers said, “FLM is beneficial to all Mayors because it gives us a sounding board for ideas. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only one facing these challenges and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just ask for advice.” Sheryl S. Jackson is a Writer/Editor with the Florida League of Cities. QC THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 49





Cybersecurity Training Through Tabletop Exercises Strengthen your disaster recovery plan by shooting holes in it

I by Michael J. van Zwieten Florida League of Cities

magine turning your computer on, and it takes longer than normal. Eventually, the login prompt comes up, and you type in your password. The computer seems to be taking forever to get started this morning, so you grab a cup of coffee while you wait. After you return to your desk, a large error message is displayed on your screen. It reads, “Your files are encrypted. If you are reading this message, your files are no longer accessible. You can recover your files if you send us 3 Bitcoins,” which is worth $88,111 as of May 25, 2022. Your co-workers are experiencing the same message on their screens. Citizens are starting to call and want to pay their utility bills. Computers are down. City services are, at this point, completely nonfunctional. The media just called and is asking questions. What do you do? Of course, this situation is hypothetical, but it’s realistic and could very well happen in today’s world. Amid hurricane season and hackers continuing to test your defenses relentlessly, you hope a well-developed disaster recovery (DR) or business continuity (BC) plan will be able to help mitigate some of these risks. While best practices call for making sure you review and test these BC plans regularly, how will you be sure these plans will execute flawlessly? There isn’t a way to exactly know whether your BC plan will truly work unless you have experienced a disaster requiring it. However, there are ways to test your plan in smaller, more manageable bites, namely, through tabletop exercises. According to the Department of Homeland Security, tabletop exercises are “discussionbased sessions where team members meet in an informal, classroom setting to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation.” Facilitators are an important ingredient to the mix, as they help guide and set up the various scenarios that the participants need to work through. The duration of tabletop exercises is dependent




From a technology perspective, tabletop exercises ... can uncover unknown holes or potential vulnerabilities related to a city’s infrastructure, cybersecurity defenses, policies or procedures. on the scenario and audience. Some last only 30 minutes, while other sessions can take a few hours or more. The benefit of these exercises is that personnel involved in responding to these incidents become more familiar with and understand their roles and the procedures necessary to handle different, potentially catastrophic events. Outside of testing the DR or BC plan, tabletop exercises can be highly beneficial for other types of scenarios. For example, members of the Information Technology team may already hold tabletop exercises regularly to come up with various cybersecurity scenarios and explore how they might handle a potential attack. After setting up the initial scenario, the team considers more detailed questions to help uncover any potential deficiencies in defenses, such as the scenario below. An employee inserts a flash drive into their personal home computer to download files they need for work. The employee is unaware that these files were infected with malware. At the office, the employee tries to copy the files on their workstation that is connected to the internal network. After files are opened by others across the organization, the malware infects the organization’s entire network. Some questions to consider: ▸ Given the initial path of attack, how would you be able to identify this malware infection? ▸ What technologies are used to identify malware intrusions of this type? ▸ Are anti-malware defenses deployed on all network devices? What’s not being defended? ▸ What can be done further to prevent future malware infections or incidents of this type? ▸ What further training, policies and procedures would benefit this scenario? From a technology perspective, tabletop exercises such as this example can uncover unknown holes or potential vulnerabilities related to a city’s infrastructure, cybersecurity defenses, policies or procedures. Simple “gotchas,” like generators running out of fuel, data centers located in a flood-prone area or redundant internet connectivity not available to provide service during major events or outages, will come to light quickly. More difficult issues to overcome are highlighted by designing multiple types of cyberattack scenarios and identifying the technologies or policy changes that could help mitigate the risk. The Florida Center for Cybersecurity, also known as Cyber Florida, leads a spectrum of initiatives to inspire and educate future and current professionals, support industry-advancing research and help people and organizations better understand cyberthreats

and what they can do to stay safer in cyberspace. In partnership with the Florida League of Cities (FLC), the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA) and the Florida Local Government Information Systems Association (FLGISA), Cyber Florida held four regional workshops throughout Florida, training many of our cities’ executive staff through the means of a cyber wargame scenario. Wargames are very similar to tabletop exercises, but the outcome of each successive scenario is shaped by the decisions being made by the participants. In January 2022, Ronald Sanders, DPA, Staff Director at Cyber Florida, facilitated their local government wargame scenario at the FLGISA Winter Symposium, which was attended by nearly 100 technology professionals from across the state, to experience a scenario from the perspective of the fictitious “City of Beachside.” This unfortunate city was the subject of one disaster after another, ranging from insider data theft, ransomware attacks on their utility and even data breaches within their billing department. In this multi-hour scenario, teams of six to eight individuals would take on various roles within the City, deliberate with each other on how they would handle the current scenario, give recommendations and answer questions that the facilitator asked. The audience would learn from the ideas and suggestions that other teams had, while the facilitator helped share a new perspective on how these situations could have been handled. Tough questions, such as “Who’s in charge of the City’s response right now?” and “What do you tell the Mayor or City Council, citizens and employees, local businesses, the media and the public?” required some deep thought and careful consideration. Wargaming not only requires the audience to deal with attack and incident response but quickly turns into crisis management. While wargaming is the ultimate tabletop exercise, it can be intimidating to set up and organize, as it takes time and thought to devise the scenario and the end-goal lessons that you want the audience to walk away with. Wargames and tabletop exercises can be valuable tools. Devising or attending a wargame, even holding some regularly scheduled tabletop exercises throughout the year, can greatly help your team stay sharp regarding your DR or BC plans. They will also continue to strengthen internal defenses with that never-ending goal of making them bulletproof. Michael J. van Zwieten, CGCIO, MCSE, is the Director of Technology Services at the Florida League of Cities and Executive Director of the Florida Local Government Information Systems Association. QC




Getting Savvy with Surveys Important considerations for polling your community by Kara Irby Florida League of Cities


tart with the end in mind. That popular phrase is commonly tossed out when considering strategic planning and goal setting, but it’s also true when planning to survey residents in your municipality. Knowing how survey results will be used will help guide the survey’s design. Josh Taylor, Public Information Officer for the City of North Port, said, “Ask yourself, ‘Is it working its way into a strategic plan or being used to drive policy? Is it influencing your overall decision-making, funding or community development?’” North Port has conducted several surveys for its residents using a third-party company. Every two years, the City invests in a comprehensive citizen survey to get the pulse of the community and learn what is working and what is not. The report generated by the company is posted on the City’s website. Blurbs are shared on social media to direct interested residents to the full report online. Another community feedback survey was an exercise in which residents were given a hypothetical $100 to use as they pleased. The goal of this survey was to understand where North Port residents felt their hard-earned dollars would be spent most wisely. To get the word out about surveys and polling opportunities, Taylor said they use their quarterly newsletter, which is sent digitally and also mailed to the 38,000 homes in the City. “We hit all facets,” Taylor said. “We talk to people in person, reach them digitally with social media and the website and send physical prints.” They also have a City app that notifies users when new information is posted. The response allows staff to see the immediate impacts of the information they’re providing. If a city doesn’t have the resources to invest in a paid survey service, there are free survey tools such as SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics and Google Forms. Taylor said some existing city web platforms may have survey options built in. “If you can’t afford or aren’t willing to invest thousands of dollars into surveying your residents, look at services you already have or try utilizing low- to no-cost survey options.” In addition to considering your investment, ensure the survey is accessible, said Chris Holley, Research and Innovation Manager at the Florida League of Cities. “Make sure your residents feel like they have a voice in your polling,” Holley said. “Consider the demographics and ways different populations will be able to engage. Is there a digital divide in whom you are surveying?” Not all people have access to the internet or a comfort level with computers/smartphones. Allow the survey to be called in or taken at


a public library, and consider the needs of those who are blind or partially sighted and deaf or hard of hearing. Whether you choose to send out a mass survey or run a quick social media poll, it’s important to inform community members that the survey is just one way to provide input. Public forums are another important way residents can voice their concerns. While the survey responses should result in important takeaways and actionable suggestions, survey results should also be taken with a grain of salt, Holley emphasizes. As citizens working together to create the best place possible to live, work and play, it’s essential that citizens feel they have outlets to communicate. The municipal communicator’s job is to help the community members understand that it takes all people working together and providing input to make that goal possible. Kara Irby is a Communications Specialist at the Florida League of Cities. QC

Survey Best Practices When creating a survey or analyzing results, consider:

▸ Deadlines: The timeline window for feedback is ideally no longer than a month once the survey is distributed.

▸ Incentives: Consider incentivizing the use of the

survey, such as providing city swag or a gift card, to entice participation.

▸ Options: Multiple choice is ideal for quantifiable results.

▸ No Neutrality: Use a scale from 1 to 4 to reduce the likelihood of a largely neutral result.

▸ Expectations: Don’t set an expectation that the

survey results alone will determine the final decision, strategy or outcome.

▸ Quick Clicks: The fewer clicks a survey taker has to make, the better.

▸ Follow Up: If there is negative survey feedback, have someone standing by to respond.





Business Watch connects businesses and local government elected officials, leaders and management, and it provides a unique network to share knowledge necessary to both the public and private sectors. Together, Business Watch government and corporate members are a powerful coalition to better our economy, influence public policy and strengthen our communities.

Defining a Workforce Revolution

Visit businesswatchinc.com to learn more.

Look at facilities and real estate to recruit and retain talent by Ken Krasnow Colliers International


he disruption COVID-19 brought to the workplace accelerated trends that were emerging but are now almost certainly here to stay. Teams discovered ways to collaborate while physically apart, and workers often found a new work-life balance they are now embracing. Given the intense competition of low unemployment and the need for skilled and diverse talent, the workplace of the future will be largely defined by employee choice. In fact, more than half of employees globally would quit their jobs if not provided postpandemic flexibility, and 70% say they want to work remotely three or more days per week. Colliers has compiled a list of these worker preferences and offers some recommendations on how a city’s real estate and facilities can play a role in meeting them: ▸ Promote health and well-being in the workplace. Workplace designs and locations that provide healthy food options, solitude and wellness rooms, bike storage, etc., will encourage physical and mental wellness. Health and wellness programs for employees can help companies reduce sickness absences by 44%. ▸ Enable women to remain in the workforce. As women face the need to balance work and home life, one in four are still considering leaving the workforce. Cities should prioritize work locations that offer easy access to family services such as health care, day care and schools. On-site amenities such as flex spaces and quiet/family rooms help support women in the workforce. ▸ Grow a culture that more clearly reflects diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). A majority (75%) of employees think more diversity is needed in the workplace. Despite a dramatic focus on DEI since 2020, real change is incremental. BSD555/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

Local governments can identify what these talent pools desire. They can let that information drive location, workplace design and work experience strategies. ▸ Prepare for artificial intelligence and automation. The demand for agile technology skills is four times greater than the number of qualified candidates. Cities will need to recruit recent graduates and upskill current workers to meet the need. Designing workplaces that facilitate new workflow patterns and offer technology amenities is key to attracting and retaining talent. ▸ Support distributed work models. Employees want the best of both worlds. Seventy percent want flexible remote work options, but 65% crave more in-person time with their teams. Consider redesigning physical spaces to accommodate hybrid work better. Update technology that supports work and meeting requirements. Now’s the time to think of ways your municipality can stand out to attract the workers you need by addressing their work preferences. Cities need to plan for new ways of working and reimagine how, where and when work is carried out. A thorough analysis of your real estate/facilities portfolio will provide insights, considerations and tools to think more creatively. Such an analysis will help you mindfully respond to these emerging challenges by leveraging location and facilities to drive change. Source: Colliers. Defining a Work Revolution, bit.ly/3Gmqup2. Ken Krasnow is Vice Chairman of Colliers International, a multidisciplined commercial real estate advisory and consulting service. He can be reached at ken.krasnow@colliers.com. QC THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 53



The City of Crestview Fire Department visited pre-K and elementary schools during Florida City Government Week.

The City of Parkland celebrated Florida City Government Week by engaging third grade students with municipal-related projects.


2022 Florida City Government Week Ways to engage your legislators this year by Eryn Russell Florida League of Cities


lorida City Government Week is a time for cities across the state to celebrate, showcase and engage citizens in the work of municipal government. This weeklong annual event hosted by the Florida League of Cities (FLC) will be held October 17-23, 2022. Whether your city plans to host a town hall for residents, share city resources on social media or adopt a resolution, there are many ways your city can invite local representatives and senators to participate in Florida City Government Week. As a result of redistricting, your city’s House and Senate district may be changing (see p. 42). This would be a great opportunity to engage potential new legislators who may not be familiar with your city. Below are a few ways that your city can plan to engage legislators. ADOPT A RESOLUTION OR PASS A PROCLAMATION

Explain the importance of Florida City Government Week to residents at a 54 QUALITY CITIES | THIRD QUARTER 2022

Council meeting by adopting a resolution or passing a proclamation. Include the important relationship between the state and municipal government, and encourage your legislators to pass a proclamation of their own. OFFER TOURS OF CITY HALL

Host an open house at City Hall or city facilities/departments. Hold tours so that attendees can meet city employees to learn about the services the city provides. Invite your legislators to join the tour so that they can understand what services and programs you offer to residents. SPONSOR A CONTEST

Coordinate with area schools for an essay or poster contest. Students could be recognized at a city council meeting and their schools, and their winning entries could be publicized on social media and the city’s website. Ask your legislators to get involved by making the winner’s presentation at their local office or inviting

them to make a special announcement on social media. CHAMPION LOCAL DECISION-MAKING

Talk to your residents about the importance of local decision-making. Send officials and staff to speak to schools or civic clubs or share resources on social media. Resources geared toward citizens can be found at localvoicesunited.com. Invite your legislators to learn about local priorities for your city and what the priorities mean to your community. D o n ’t f o rg e t ! Re m e m b e r t o t a g us @FLCities and use the hashtag #FLCityWeek when sharing on social platforms. Eryn Russell is an Ambassador at the Florida League of Cities. QC






Tips to Engage Your Community There are several ways to engage your community during Florida City Government Week. STUDENTS:

▸ Coordinate a story hour at a library, city hall or recreation center.

▸ Send guest speakers to schools and after-school programs.

▸ Bring police, fire or utility vehicles to area schools or recreation centers.


City of Stuart Commissioners and staff read “The City That Talks” to students at local elementary schools.


▸ Host an open house at city hall or city facilities. ▸ Host a trivia game on social media, and partner with a local business for a prize.


▸ Develop a citizens’ academy. Check out flcities. com/citizens’-academy for more information.

Insurance fraud costs the average


family $400-700 annually. Help reduce these costs by reporting fraud.

The City of Winter Haven hosted a tour of the City’s water plant for residents during Florida City Government Week.


▸ Host a “Coffee with a Council/Commission Member or the Mayor” at a local business.

▸ Host an open house with a chamber of commerce. ▸ Sponsor a community service day.

UP TO $5,000 REWARD For information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person found guilty of a crime involving insurance fraud against the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust.



The City Council of Orange City hosted “Cookies with the City Council.”

For more ideas, visit bit.ly/3wOQDtS.



First-place winner Kayson Hawkins with Scott Dudley.

Third-place winner Angelina Chen with FLM President-Elect and City of Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.

Second-place winner Emily Fuentes with, from left, Longwood Commissioner Brian D. Sackett, Deputy Mayor Tony Boni, Commissioner Abby Shoemaker, Commissioner Matt McMillan and Mayor Matt Morgan.


Winners for ‘If I Were Mayor’ Contest Announced

Essay contest encourages civic engagement among middle school students by Scott Dudley Florida League of Cities and Florida League of Mayors


hree middle school students were recently recognized for their winning submissions in the “If I Were Elected Mayor” statewide essay contest. The contest is sponsored by the Florida League of Cities (FLC) and Florida League of Mayors (FLM) to foster civic engagement and community pride among sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. Civics education is taught in Florida public schools as a vital tool to encourage public participation. Students participating in the contest were required to submit a single-page essay of no more than 250 words that began with the statement “If I were elected Mayor ...” and described how they would make a difference in their city if they were elected Mayor. The students were also asked to include information on how Home Rule helps make their


municipality a great place to live. More than 1,200 submissions were received. Each student who submitted an essay received a certificate of participation, and the winners received gift cards and a joint resolution from FLC and FLM. The 2022 contest winners are: ▸ First place: Kayson Hawkins, sixth grade, Vernon Middle School, Vernon ▸ Second place: Emily Fuentes, seventh grade, Rock Lake Middle School, Longwood ▸ Third place: Angelina Chen, sixth grade, Pioneer Middle School, Cooper City. The first-place presentation for Kayson took place at the City of Vernon’s City Council meeting and the Washington

County Board of County Commissioners

meeting. The second-place presentation for Emily took place at the City of Longwood’s City Commission meeting. The third-place presentation for Angelina took place at the City of Cooper City’s Commission meeting. The League and the FLM plan to hold this contest again during the next school year. Look for more information to be available this September. Scott Dudley is the Director of Field Advocacy and Federal Affairs at the Florida League of Cities, and he serves as Executive Director of the Florida League of Mayors. QC





ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS (EXCERPTS) FIRST PLACE Kayson Hawkins, sixth grade Vernon Middle School Vernon

My following idea includes the citizens of Longwood in neighborhood decisions. Home rule is compelling during my term. Every government official should be close to the needs of the community.

If I were elected Mayor for the day, I would work diligently to accomplish the following. I would work with the county to extend our sewer, power and water. I would get more roads paved and I would try to attract more business within the city.

That is why they should be a resident. Residents in Longwood have opportunities to be involved in the new communal meetings. Those who care about the topic may be present. This decision is perfect for the community and its people.

First, I would partner with the county to extend sewer, power and water throughout the city. This would increase population within the city, as well as attract more business. More businesses would benefit the city so much and I will tell you more about that later.

The final addition will benefit companies that are lacking customers. A company will pay a twenty-five dollar fee and provide the presentation card. In exchange, we will advertise the business in the community through the mail, social media and fliers around town. Distressing companies will no longer worry about the lack of consumers.

The next step I would take would be to get more roads paved ... not only for convenience but also for someone’s safety. It could make first responders response time improve as well.

With me as Mayor, I will help lacking companies, create meetings for locals and remove staff shortages. These three promises are why Emily Fuentes is the best option for Mayor.

Finally, I would try to attract more businesses. There are many reasons I want to have more businesses within the city. The more businesses we have, the more job opportunities available. The other reason is it would make everyday citizens’ taxes go down. We all could benefit from that. In conclusion, I feel like growth is very important in your city. As there are many ways to implement growth, the three I spoke about are the most important to me. Do I have your support in making these changes? As Mayor, I am ready to make a positive change to improve the city!

SECOND PLACE Emily Fuentes, seventh grade Rock Lake Middle School Longwood If I were elected Mayor in Longwood, Florida, my three primary objectives would be eliminating staff shortages, involving locals in community problems, and helping local businesses gain customers. Here are my methods and proposals to improve Longwood. All around Longwood are hiring signs, and that is my biggest concern. Companies are struggling with staff shortages. I plan to construct a cost-free, online and public program where unemployed citizens can find convenient careers. Longwood’s society will be full of diligent workers in all areas.

THIRD PLACE Angelina Chen, sixth grade Pioneer Middle School Cooper City If I were elected Mayor, I would make improvements to Cooper City in any way I can. Being Mayor is a tough job, but if the work I am doing is for the good of our city, then I will do the best job I can. To start, I would plan extraordinary events to honor our veterans for the hometown heroes they are. I would host a weekly club where teachers take their students to visit the veterans. It is important for veterans to talk about their experience and why they were fighting for our country; I would arrange for veterans to be guest speakers in schools. Our city needs to help our veterans to keep their legacy alive. If I were Mayor, I would organize a Cooper City Night Out, a monthly event that donates a percentage of the bill to charity when you eat at certain restaurants. The benefits of Cooper City Night Out would be to support small businesses in Cooper City and give to charities. The restaurants and charities would be changed each month so that people could experience all that Cooper City has to offer. Cooper City’s Commissioners would meet and greet the people as well. Home rule is important to our city because it lets us decide how to fix local problems if it doesn’t go against the federal law. It also gives us the power to have freedom in our city and fix local problems without the state’s interference.






Understanding Heatstroke Know the symptoms to protect loved ones by Sheryl S. Jackson Florida League of Cities


ummertime means spending time outside and enjoying the sun, but hot weather also increases the risk of heat-related illnesses. The most serious condition is heatstroke, a serious medical emergency that occurs when your body cannot control its internal temperature. Knowing the signs and symptoms of heatstroke can potentially save a life and prevent organ damage. Heatstroke signs and symptoms include: ▸ High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 degrees or higher is the main sign of heatstroke. ▸ Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can result from heatstroke. ▸ Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, the skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. In heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, the skin may feel dry or slightly moist. ▸ Flushed skin. The skin may turn red as body temperature increases. ▸ Rapid breathing. Breathing may become rapid and shallow. ▸ Racing heart rate. The pulse rate may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on the heart to help cool the body. ▸ Nausea and vomiting. ▸ Headache.

If you think a person is experiencing heatstroke, call 911 and seek immediate medical help, the Mayo Clinic advises. It offers this additional advice: While waiting for help to arrive, get the person into the shade or indoors and remove excess clothing. Cool the person in any way possible: use a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray with a garden hose, sponge with cool water or apply ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin. 58 QUALITY CITIES | THIRD QUARTER 2022

Heatstroke can occur as a result of exposure to a hot environment or strenuous activity, or a combination of both. The risk is increased if a person is wearing excess clothing, drinking alcohol or not drinking enough water to replenish fluids lost through sweating. According to the Mayo Clinic, steps to help prevent heatstroke include: ▸ Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that allows your body to cool properly. ▸ Protect against sunburn that affects your body’s ability to cool itself. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses as well as broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 are recommended. Reapply sunscreen every two hours – or more often if you’re swimming or sweating. ▸ Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. ▸ Take extra precautions with medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat. ▸ Never leave anyone in a parked car because when parked in the sun, the temperature in a car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Even if the car is parked in the shade or windows are slightly open, the temperature rises to dangerous levels. ▸ Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. Schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. If you can’t avoid activity in the heat, drink plenty of fluids and take frequent rest breaks in the shade. ▸ Get acclimated by limiting time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. ▸ Be cautious if you’re at increased risk due to medications or health conditions that increase your risk of heat-related problems. Act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. Sheryl S. Jackson is a Writer/Editor with the Florida League of Cities. QC LIUDMILA CHERNETSKA/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS





Summertime Safety Tips for being in the sun on water and land by Erika Branchcomb Florida League of Cities


ummers are filled with outdoor events and opportunities to enjoy ourselves on the water and in the sunshine. Spending time outdoors can be great for making memories but can be risky if safety is not top of mind. WATER SAFETY

Any body of water can be dangerous if proper safety precautions aren’t taken. ▸ Supervise young children . Implement a buddy system so no one swims alone. ▸ Keep a phone nearby. Be sure someone in your group knows CPR if a lifeguard isn’t present. ▸ Limit alcoholic beverages that can reduce your response time and impair judgment. ▸ At the ocean, look for flags. A red flag means dangerous conditions, yellow means moderate conditions and green means low hazard conditions. Some beaches also use a purple flag to indicate high sea life activity (usually jellyfish or stingrays). ▸ Watch out for rip currents. These strong water channels flow to the TANYA PATON/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS

open sea and are the leading cause of ocean drownings. If you get caught in a rip current, signal for help. Try to move sideways away from the current. OUTDOOR SAFETY

Summer is ideal for enjoying hiking, bicycling, boating, camping, grilling and attending festive events. Consider the following areas to stay safe. ▸ Insects. Avoid wearing perfume or scented products, and use unscented soap. Apply insect repellant (with DEET) liberally. Wear long sleeves and socks, especially when hiking, and avoid bright-colored clothing. Cover food so it doesn’t attract unwanted insects. Do a thorough tick check after being outdoors, particularly in the woods. ▸ Bicycles. Use protective equipment including a helmet, reflective gear and mounted lights and reflectors at night. Use arm and hand signals. Ride with traffic, not against. Carry items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike. Tuck in

shoelaces and loose pantlegs to avoid getting them caught in the chain. ▸ Boats. Wear an appropriately sized life jacket that is fastened correctly. Be mindful of the weather, and take precautions with approaching wind or rain. Never drink alcohol when driving a motorized water vessel. Have a spotter for tubers or wakeboarders, and ensure the towlines remain clear of the propellor. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30. ▸ Grilling. Clean your grill thoroughly after each use. Place grill on stable, level ground away from objects. Don’t cook under patios or porches. Check gas grills for leaks. Keep children and pets away. Have a fire extinguisher handy. Erika Branchcomb is the Senior Communications Specialist at the Florida League of Cities. QC Sources: American Red Cross, Summit Health, National Safety Council. THIRD QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 59

The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust, with approximately 530 members, has been providing insurance to Florida’s local governments since 1977.

∙ Property

1.800.445.6248 insurance.flcities.com

∙ Law Enforcement Professional Liability

∙ Workers’ Compensation ∙ General Liability ∙ Health ∙ Auto ∙ Cyber Coverage ∙ Public Officials Liability ∙ Disaster Response and Recovery Services ∙ FMIT Employment Law Advisor (ELA)

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Public Service Matters

pages 18-19

Board of Directors

pages 33-36

Employee Spotlight

page 21

QC Today

pages 8-11

From the President

page 7

Summertime Safety

pages 59-60

Winners for ‘If I Were Mayor’ Contest Announced

pages 56-57

Defining a Workforce Revolution

page 53

Getting Savvy with Surveys

page 52

2022 Florida City Government Week

pages 54-55

Cybersecurity Training Through Tabletop Exercises

pages 50-51

Improvements Through Gainsharing

pages 40-41

Forging the Future Through Partnerships

pages 12-13

Enhancing the Community

pages 16-17

R.I.S.E. Principles Are Guide

pages 14-15

Mayors Share Best Practices

pages 47, 49

Walker Guides FLC Centennial

pages 22-23

Florida Race to Zero Cohort

pages 38-39

Community Service Contest Winners

pages 48-49
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