Three fresh faces will take Walton County Commission seats 1, 3, and 5 for the coming four years. Bill Chapman, Bill Imfeld, and Cindy Meadows will be sworn in Nov. 20 to take over for Scott Brannon, Larry Jones, and Cecilia Jones, respectively.
The Sun asked the departing commissioners for their reflections on their years of service. Scott Brannon and Larry Jones did not respond, but Cecilia Jones was happy to share.
Looking back on her term as District 5 Commissioner, she said she is proud of what she has been able to accomplish.
Jones served through the BP oil spill, and acted on issues of great import for the county, from the four-laning of the Clyde B. Wells Bridge to working to establish a plant and fish hatchery in the county.
Jones said she also helped streamline the budget and keep taxes low.
“She often had people show up at the office and would meet with them without an appointment. Her constituent care is unprecedented,” said her aid Evelyn Strickland.
Additionally, Jones worked with local captains and their vessels, citizens and volunteers to clean up our beaches during the tragic BP oil spill, and help local businesses and citizens with compensation from BP for their business and personal losses.
Later, Jones lobbied in Washington, D.C., for the RESTORE Act and was recognized by Florida Association of Counties for helping to recover billions of dollars in BP fine money.
She didn’t limit her service to voting-age constituents, but also said she was able to help children and some furry friends. Through a partnership with Alaqua Animal Shelter, Jones helped reopen the Bark Park off J.D. Miller Road in Santa Rosa Beach. She also worked to give local students a space at Kellogg Center to create living shorelines through their schools.
She also is proud of the fact that the Mission Play Park at Helen McCall Park now includes two pavilions, barbecue grills, playground equipment for children and South Walton's very first splash pad.
Her time as Walton County official may draw to an end in November but after a rigorous campaign, Commissioner Jones says she is excited for what lies before her.
“First and foremost (I am looking forward to) spending more quality time with my grandson Colton and getting more involved in my church. I haven’t had a vacation in 4 years, so I will take some much needed days off,” said Jones. “I am also considering starting a new business. One thing is for sure, I have loved serving the people of Walton County and I will continue to stay involved.”
In fact, Cecilia Jones’ name is part of the 48-applicant list for the county administrator spot, which was filled with interim county administrator Gerry Demers after Greg Kisela left the post this past summer. Larry Jones is also listed among the applicants.
The swearing-in ceremony for the new commissioners will be Nov. 20 at 8:30 a.m. at the Walton County Courthouse in DeFuniak Springs.