It's time for a change in District 2.
And Cecil Pendergrass, a career law enforcement professional and political newcomer, has demonstrated the temperament, drive and community perspective to effect that change in a way that will benefit the board and a countywide constituency.
During his 25-year tenure with the Fort Myers Police Department, Mr. Pendergrass spent a dozen years in community policing and, for the last two before his retirement, was in charge of community affairs. His diverse responsibilities included budget development, oversight of the city School Resource program, coordination of all permitting and scheduling for special events and liaison duties with the court system, including scheduling officers.
This ability to work across programs and responsibilities lays a solid foundation upon which to build the skill set particular to policy-making bodies: same thing, larger scale.
A Lee County native born and raised in Fort Myers, Mr. Pendergrass also has strong community roots, always a plus.
This combination of professional background and community involvement has garnered Mr. Pendergrass broad-based support that includes not only a grassroots base but also many of the community's heavy hitters, including the mayor of Fort Myers, Randall P. Henderson, and Sheriff Mike Scott.
We do have one concern. He was elected president of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association in 2005 and is serving his second term. County commissioners do approve - or not - the budget submitted by the Sheriff's Office. There is a potential for conflicting priorities here. Mr. Pendergrass assures us he recognizes this issue and that there will be no conflict - he is resigning his role with the PBA and he can look objectively at not only Sheriff Scott's budget proposal but at other departments as well. We will take Mr. Pendergrass at his word. And we will hold him to it.
We endorse Cecil Pendergrass in the Republican primary for the District 2 seat on the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. This seat requires effective leadership, and we believe Mr. Pendergrass can provide it.
Also running: Incumbent Brian Bigelow, Sonny Haas and Dick Ripp.