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Chair columns are usually a platform for section chairs to recognize great work done by section members, and this chair’s column is going to continue that happy tradition. We are very fortunate to have several people who are working hard to raise the Section’s profile and enhance the value of joining the Section.
Tabitha Harnage has done an outstanding job organizing a monthly speaker series at Florida State University’s Law School. The speaker series is a partnership between the Section and student organizations, and Tabitha organizes a small group of Section members to speak about administrative law on the third Wednesday of every month. Tabitha also arranges for local restaurants to cater each event. I have been able to attend every edition of the speaker series so far, and I am happy to report that they have been a huge success, with 30 to 50 students attending each time. Congratulations to Tabitha, and thank you to the Section members who have taken time from their busy schedules to speak to the law students: Paul Drake, Taylor Anderson, Alexandra Lozada, Joaquin Alvarez, and Mattie Birster. For most of the students in attendance, this is their first exposure to administrative law, and we hope that they will remember the Administrative Law Section after they pass the bar exam and are deciding which sections to join.
Speaking of Tabitha, she, James Ross, and Virginia Ponder organized the Section’s inaugural “Fall FSU Law Mixer & Turkey Drive” to benefit students attending Oak Ridge Elementary School and their families. The mixer was held at Madison Social in Tallahassee on November 1, 2018, and those attending donated canned goods and money for the purchase of turkey dinners. Section members then met the Saturday before Thanksgiving to assemble the meals. Thank you to Tabitha, James, Virginia, all those who donated, and everyone who assembled meals. Thank you as well to Flowers Food in Thomasville, Georgia for donating bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Hopefully, this will become an annual event and reach more families every year.
I am very happy to report that the Administrative Law Section’s events are no longer confined to Tallahassee. On October 17, 2018, the Section’s brand new South Florida Chapter held a joint happy hour with the Florida Bar’s Tax Section and the Broward County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section at Good Spirits Fifth & Fed in Fort Lauderdale. We owe a huge “thank you” to Paula Savchenko for organizing that event, and I am so happy that Paula and Sharlee Edwards stepped up to make the South Florida Chapter a reality. If you are a Section member in South Florida, please contact Paula and Sharlee and see how you can help them make the South Florida Chapter a success. Also, please spread the word and let administrative law practitioners in South Florida know that the Section is starting to branch out beyond Tallahassee and that now is a great time to join the Section.
On August 14, 2018, I received an e-mail from Sarah Hodges who was co-chairing a CLE on basic administrative law for the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar. Ms. Hodges asked if I was interested in speaking on one of several topics. When I saw that she needed several more speakers to fill out her roster, I sent an e-mail blast to my fellow Section members, and Ms. Hodges was immediately inundated with volunteers. In fact, she had many more volunteers than needed. So, I thank the following people who were “quick on the draw” and spoke during the CLE on November 2, 2018 in Tallahassee: Seann Frazier, Virginia Dailey, Mattie Birster, Tabitha, Joaquin, Fred Dudley, Marc Ito, Louise St. Laurent, Gigi Rollini, Bridget Smitha, Amanda Bush, and Anthony Miller. I would also like to thank those people who volunteered but were unable to secure a slot due to the overwhelming response. I was so happy to see our Section step up in such a big way.
If Hurricane Michael had not made an unexpected and unwanted visit to Tallahassee, I am sure that I would be thanking Judge Cathy Sellers, Jowanna Oates, and the members of their steering committee for organizing another wildly successful Pat Dore Conference. While the Pat Dore Conference did not occur as planned, Judge Sellers and Jowanna acted quickly to secure another date, and the Pat Dore Conference is now scheduled for February 8, 2019. Thank you to Judge Sellers, Jowanna, and the steering committee members for all their hard work in formulating topics and lining up speakers. While we will end up waiting a little longer for this edition of the Pat Dore Conference, I am sure that it will prove to be well worth the wait.
Thank you to Paul Drake, Christina Shideler, and Gregg Morton for maintaining and updating the Section’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Paul has been absolutely instrumental over the last couple of years in making the Section’s new and vastly improved website a reality. If it has been a while since you have visited the Section’s website, please take a few moments to find it and to see all of the great changes that have been made.
As some of you may know, Lyyli Van Whittle has taken over for Stephen Emmanuel as the Section’s liaison to the Florida Bar Journal, and she put out the call for articles at a recent meeting of agency general counsels. Thank you to Lyyli for assuming this very important position. Getting articles published in the Florida Bar Journal raises the Section’s profile AND keeps Bar members apprised of important developments in administrative law.
I want to thank Chase Early of the Florida Bar for assisting the Section while our permanent Bar administrator, Calbrail Banner, was on maternity leave. Chase had a “trial by fire” because he had to deal with rescheduling the Pat Dore Conference. Nevertheless, he did a terrific job while fielding countless e-mails from me and many others.
Speaking of Calbrail, she is past due for some much deserved recognition because of the outstanding job she has done as the Section’s administrator since September of 2013, and I would like to close this chair’s column by telling the membership a little about her. Calbrail was born in Tallahassee and graduated from Lincoln High School. After earning two degrees (a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an MBA) from Florida A&M University, Calbrail worked as a marketing and communications manager at FAMU. She also worked as an adjunct professor teaching business courses at Keiser University. Calbrail has been featured in Tallahassee Woman Magazine as one of the “Women to Watch” nominees. She has an affinity for traveling, freelance photography, and watching “Flip This House!” Calbrail and her husband Johnathan welcomed their first child, Jaxon, on October 3, 2018. If you get the chance, please thank Calbrail for all of her hard work on the Section’s behalf.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I look forward to serving you as Chair during this 2018-19 term.
Administrative Law Judge, Division of Administrative Hearings
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