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Benefits of Cooperation and Working Together

 

St. Johns County Administrator and Sheriff Address New County Commissioners to Discuss Benefits of Cooperation and Working Together

 

St. Johns County, Florida – St. Johns County Administrator, Michael D. Wanchick, and St. Johns County Sheriff, David P. Shoar, appeared before an audience of new County Commissioners from throughout Florida on Thursday to discuss the benefits of County Commissions, County Administration, and the sheriff’s office establishing and maintaining meaningful, positive, and long-term working relationships that allow them to better serve the community as a whole.

SJCSJSO1“We are all pieces of the same puzzle working together toward the same goal of providing a high quality of life for our residents,” said Wanchick. “The whole of our working relationship becomes greater than just the sum of its parts and we can truly provide a higher level of service for the community when we work together and maintain a positive relationship.”

Speaking at the request of the Florida Association of Counties, Wanchick and Shoar addressed the crowd of approximately 30 new commissioners and staff members at the organization’s annual workshop for incoming elected officials in Gainesville, FL. Wanchick and Shoar discussed the importance of public perception and how the behavior of elected officials, administration, and the sheriff can greatly impact how their employees, residents, and surrounding communities perceive the community as a whole. In addition, they offered examples of local governmental entities that had not maintained positive working relationships and the impact it had on their ability to efficiently and effectively serve the community

“In Florida, the Office of the Sheriff is both a constitutionally elected and independent office apart from the County Government. This does not indicate that the entities should not operate with mutual respect and understanding for one another. As we have seen elsewhere, struggles can begin that are not beneficial to the community as a whole, or do not lend themselves to a more effective and efficient continuity of government,” Shoar said. “St. Johns County is in a far better place, because of the relationships we have fostered in order to serve our communities.”

Speaking from more than 60 years of combined public service experience, Wanchick and Shoar discussed the benefit of having mutual respect for the difficulty of the other’s position and working together even when they may not be on the same side of any particular issue. A shared understanding that their roles are fundamentally intertwined and the ultimate success of one side of the equation is dependent upon the support and success of the other, has created an unprecedented synergy in St. Johns County, according to Wanchick and Shoar. In addition, the partnership philosophy trickles down through both organizations as department directors and frontline personnel have modeled the behavior of cooperation, rather than conflict, and continually work together on shared projects.

The shared message of unity, respect, and professionalism, was well received by the up-and-coming freshmen County Commissioners. As a result, Wanchick and Shoar have been asked by the Florida Association of Counties to appear at an additional upcoming conference.

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