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DeSantis Names Five To New Leon County Children's Services Council

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has named the members of the newly-created Leon County Children’s Services Council. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital CEO Mark O’Bryant, Pineview Elementary School Principal Carmen Conner, former Florida A&M University assistant pharmacy professor Zandra Glenn, the Southern Group’s Paul Mitchell and Liza McFadden have been named to the board.

Voters approved the creation of the Children’s Services Council in the November 2020 election. The new board comes with the creation of a new tax expected to generate $8 million a year.

The council was hotly contested in the run up to the election, with City and County leadership split joining opposing groups on either side of the issue.

The council has a stated goal of improving early learning and child health.

Proponents, like Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil, claim the Council will decrease youth arrests. Opponents argued a new independent taxing authority comprised of unelected members, half appointed by the governor, would be unaccountable.

More than 80 people applied for the 10-member board. The other five seats are to be filled by County Commissioner Carolyn Cummings, a Department of Children and Families designee, a juvenile case judge, Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna and school board member Alva Striplin.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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