Rarely do elections have an immediate impact to governing boards, but there were two notable exceptions this year.
The first was certainly County Commissioner Joanna Bryan, whose arrival as the new representative of District 3 could be fairly considered to be a real conversation starter.
It certainly was for the BOCC and county staff, which seemed to be often at odds with the efforts of Bryan to even address district-centric – the point of a single-member district form of governance – issues.
Americus Ditch and the old Beacon Villa sign at Beacon Hill were just two of the issues pertaining only to her district that Bryan seemed to be swimming against a current generated by staff and her fellow commissioners.
When Bryan attempted to address issues such the condition and lack of current inspection of the county jail or wished to examine the history of road bond spending as part of the budget process, she found as much if not more opposition.
She verbally sparred, during public meetings, with the county administrator, jail warden and Commissioner Carmen McLemore, in particular, and was on the losing end of more than a dozen 4-1 votes on issues ranging from the dissemination of public records to bringing down the Beacon Hill sign.
In short, the BOCC claims to be moving to a more civil discourse in public meetings repeatedly proved hollow.
The Port St. Joe City Commission also saw the tenor of meetings altered as Commissioner William Thursbay joined the board.
Thursbay and Mayor Mel Magidson vocally clashed on several occasions and with Commissioners Phil McCroan and Bo Patterson joining in what became over the course of the year a consistent voting bloc, city governance realized a shift in focus, priorities and decision-making.