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Late Commissioner Frank Meeker’s Photo Is Cover Art for 2017 State Association Calendar

| December 6, 2016

Florida Association of Counties 2017 calendar

The cover of the Florida Association of Counties 2017 calendar, with Frank Meeker’s photograph.

At a Flagler County Commission meeting Monday, Commissioner Charlie Ericksen, who often traveled with the late Frank Meeker as the two made their calls on lawmakers in Tallahassee, described how Meeker had a habit of pulling over whenever inspiration struck him. He’d stop the car if he saw something arresting, take out his camera, and start shooting. He was especially fond of close-ups of flowers. The results could be stunning. 

One of them, the image of a tiger swallowtail on a Florida flame azalea, will now be the cover art for the Florida Association of Counties’ 2017 calendar, an unusual way to earn a posthumous state honor. 

            Commission Chair Nate McLaughlin held up the calendar at Monday’s regular meeting and announced that the photograph taken by Meeker was one of 15 selected for inclusion for the coming year’s calendar.

            “This photo was taken by the late Flagler County Commissioner Frank J. Meeker,” McLaughlin read from the inside front cover. “Commissioner Meeker was a dedicated public servant, a passionate advocate for the citizens of Flagler County and an avid amateur photographer.”

            Meeker, 61, represented County Commission District 2. He died of cancer on July 22. Even while battling cancer, he worked tirelessly to get a $500,000 grant for the MalaCompra Basin Water Quality Enhancement Project, which he secured.

            “This is bittersweet,” County Administrator Craig Coffey said. “While it is wonderful that he is being honored for one of his passions, it’s also a reminder that there is that big void to try to fill on our commission.”

Gov. Rick Scott is responsible for filling that vacancy through the end of Meeker’s term in 2018. Inexplicably, the governor has been dragging his feet, even though it entails the review of about only a dozen applications that were turned in soon after Meeker died.

            Members of the Florida Association of Counties decided on a theme of flora and fauna for the 2017 calendar contest. All 67 Florida counties were then invited to submit their best photos of the flora and fauna within their county.

               “Nearly 1,000 photos were submitted, breaking our previous record of 523,” said Tracy Kusmierz, communications coordinator for the Florida Association of Counties. “From the submissions, 15 were selected for the 2017 FAC Calendar.”

            They include the following: Flagler County, cover; Charlotte County, December 2016; Pinellas County, January; Martin County, February; Marion County, March; Manatee County, April; Leon County, May; Indian River County, June; Gulf County, July; Osceola County, August; Polk County, September; Hendry County, October; Hillsborough County, November; Santa Rosa County, December; and, St. Johns County, back cover.

As for the appointment to fill Meeker’s seat, Scott was ready to help Flagler County with the reconstruction of State Road A1A after a 1.2-mile portion of it was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. But those efforts guaranteed Scott a lot of positive coverage on television and in other media. A commissioner’s appointment is conducted behind the scenes and draws little attention, if even less praise, as it is strictly a political appointment. Four months and an election after Meeker’s death–the county commission has two new members–Scott is showing little interest in making the panel whole again. A month ago, he said, “we’re working on it.”

There’s been intense lobbying behind the scenes by various interests to have their choice appointed, with even Coffey getting in on the act–he’s pushing Larry Jones (not the ex-cop who ran for sheriff, but a former county government hand and the husband of Realtor Margaret Sheehan-Jones). Commissioner Nate McLaughlin was pushing Ed Fuller, Palm Coast Observer Publisher John Walsh is pushing Patrick Kelly, and Jon Netts, the former Palm Coast mayor, is also in the running.

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1 Response for “Late Commissioner Frank Meeker’s Photo Is Cover Art for 2017 State Association Calendar”

  1. Jane Gentile-Youd says:

    Karma is real…
    I just spoke with the governor’s staff less than 5 minutes ago as well as sent a scathing e-mail chastising him for leaving Frank Meeker’s district without a commissioner for over 4 months since Frank’s passing on July 22nd.
    This is a disgrace to democracy, a disgrace to the more than 100,000 citizens of Flagler County who have only 4 commissioners – two of them brand new.
    Frank Meeker attended his last county commission on July 6th – and spoke on any issues even though his breathing was labored and even made a special workshop request at the end of the meeting.. He attended another function the next day as well .. He also submitted a list of his wishes to former county commissioner George Hanns less than a week before he died
    I am happy that at least the State Association of Counties has chosen Frank’s photo and is helping to cherish his memory. Now it’s your turn Gov….

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