Commissioners complete Advanced County Commissioner Program

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Hendry County Commissioners Mitchell Wills and Emma Byrd stand with their 11 fellow ACC program graduates at the University of Florida.

LEON COUNTY — The Institute for County Government (ICG) recognized Hendry County Commissioners Mitchell Wills and Emma Byrd with successful completion of Level II of the Advanced County Commissioner (ACC) Program developed by ICG. Commissioners Byrd and Wills completed the program along with 13 other county commissioners, all of whom were recognized during the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) virtual Annual Business Meeting.

“The ACC program was one of the most beneficial learning experiences I have had during my time with FAC,” said Commissioner Wills. “The information provided has helped me in my understanding and implementation of policy here in Hendry County.”

Commissioner Emma Byrd

“The ACC program provided a unique networking opportunity with peers from around the state,” added Commissioner Byrd. “Many other counties face the same issues and struggles as Hendry County. The ACC program provided a setting for all of us to learn, discuss and form innovative solutions to those problems that we could bring home to our individual counties.”

New this year, ACC – Level II is a new leadership program developed strategically for ACC graduates who seek to expand their education opportunities. It gives alumni an opportunity to develop the tools and skills needed to be strong versatile leaders and lead the way in transforming their counties and the state of Florida.

“ICG is constantly looking at ways to expand our educational offerings to meet the needs of our members, particularly once they’ve graduated from the CCC and ACC programs,” said ICG Executive Director Eric Poole. “With the help of the UF/IFAS Leadership Institute, the ACC – Level II program is designed to prepare commissioners for new and future challenges, making them more effective leaders for their communities.”

Commissioner Mitchell Wills

Throughout the program participants are able to hear from experts on different sides of complex issues, such as population growth, marijuana, or water management; develop the necessary leadership competencies to engage both their teams and individuals on all sides of an issue to enhance key human resource relationships; and build a network of other leaders addressing excellence in their county, state and at the national level.

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension sponsors ICG’s educational programs. For more information about ICG or the ACC – Level II program and courses, visit ICG’s website at

For more than 85 years, the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) has represented the diverse interests of Florida’s counties, emphasizing the importance of protecting home rule — the concept that government closest to the people governs best. The Florida Association of Counties helps counties effectively serve and represent Floridians by strengthening and preserving county home rule through advocacy, education and collaboration.

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