Commissioner Mary Alford will now serve as chair of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) following a vote at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Alford has been the vice chair for the past year while Commissioner Anna Prizzia sat as chair of the board. Commissioner Chuck Chestnut will fill the role of vice chair moving forward.
“I feel like we’re good to go, and I’m excited about this opportunity,” Alford said.” “It’s one that I’ve thought about ever since I got elected.”
While the thought of heading the BOCC worried her initially, Alford said she was reminded of her time chairing the Utility Advisory Board for several years. If she could do that, Alford said she could serve as BOCC chair for a year.
The vote ended 3-2 after two separate nominations for chair. Prizzia nominated Alford while Cornell, who was allowed to participate virtually because of sickness, nominated Chestnut.
Cornell said projects in East Gainesville and others that Chestnut has shepherded for years will finally come before the board. He added that Chestnut has been a quiet leader for years on the board.
However, the gavel passed to Alford.
Before the transition, Alachua County Clerk of the Court Jess Irby presented Prizzia a plaque to commemorate her time as chair. Prizzia said the past year has rounded out her training on what it means to be a county commissioner.
“It is a difficult job,” Prizzia said. “It is one that I do not envy the person who gets the gavel next. But it also is a very rewarding job.”
Voters placed Alford on the commission in 2020, however, Alford stepped down in May 2022, citing family issues and news that she failed to live within her district. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Raemi Eagle-Glenn to fill the remainder of the term.
Alford and Eagle-Glenn campaigned for the seat in that fall, and Alford secured the seat with 59% of the vote. Alford represents District 1, stretching from Archer to Micanopy and up to southwest Gainesville.