I have served as Key West’s District 3 commissioner for almost 20 years. I do not take this responsibility lightly.
Some commissioners feel their role is to cut the budget, reduce staff, and micromanage the director while challenging staff to do their job with less funds each year. I disagree as I believe it is the boards’ responsibility to understand the needs of our program in order to best protect our health and wellbeing. I believe we should listen to management, making the decisions and policies that insure that staff has the necessary tools and funds to control mosquitos.
I am proud that during my tenure I have attended over 700 hours of mosquito education programs including sessions on adulticides vs. larvicides, innovations in the delivery of services, bats and dragonflies for mosquito control, and the efficacy of different types of pesticides and larvicides.
I served two terms on the board of directors of the Florida Mosquito Control Association representing commissioners across Florida. I participate in and present classes for commissioners on various topics including budgets and reserves, ethics and the Sunshine Laws. Frequently FKMCD staff members give presentations on research and projects our district has conducted which benefits us as well as other programs across the country.
FKMCD has always included a small budget for commissioners travel and education and encouraged all to participate. Networking with other mosquito professionals provides further education and information about other districts’ integrated mosquito control plans and challenges other programs experience in providing service to their communities.
Some commissioners on our board choose not to attend educational classes. Perhaps their schedules do not allow travel. I am fortunate that my schedule has permitted me to take part in mosquito association educational programs and that our district recognizes the value of continuing education.
I welcome these educational opportunities that help me better understand the needs of our mosquito control program and in turn make the decisions that best serve the residents of the Florida Keys.