Woman chosen as new county manager

GLADES COUNTY — Jennifer James-Mesloh, an eighth-generation Floridian who has been managing a small village in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula since January 2017, was the choice of Glades County commissioners to fill their vacant manager post.

The five-member county board voted in a special meeting that ran nearly all afternoon Monday to have its chairman, John Ahern, and the county attorney, Richard Pringle, negotiate a contract with Ms. James-Mesloh and bring it back to commissioners for approval.

A former executive director of the Glades County Economic Development Council for a short time in 2003-04, Ms. James-Mesloh has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Florida, and holds a master’s of public administration from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and a doctorate in public affairs from the University of Central Florida. Beyond her education, she has long roots and many connections in the state of Florida, having worked for numerous agencies and institutions, public and private, as well as for-profit and nonprofit civic organizations and for state legislators and candidates.

She also has taught at FGCU as a visiting instructor and internship coordinator for its Department of Justice Studies; is founder and president of her own company, Advanced Research Solutions Inc. out of Estero, and a consultant with Nonprofit Consulting Solutions Inc. also based there; and worked for the Lee County Health Department in Fort Myers for almost two years. She also was employed by State Sen. Steven Geller of LaBelle as a legislative assistant for nearly three years ending in 2001.

Glades County Board Chairman Ahern said she was the first choice of three of the county commissioners and the second choice of the other two. The commissioners’ unanimous first previous choice was interim county manager Joe Helfenberger, who served Glades County for about three months before declining to stay, instead accepting the position of Lake City’s city manager and leaving the interim post effective last Thursday, July 26.

Ms. James-Mesloh would replace former County Manager Paul Carlisle, who accepted the post of city manager in Sebastian last spring but still assisted Glades County as a consultant for a time during the transition.

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