Indian Trail Improvement District President Betty Argue received her Certified District Manager certificate last week at the Florida Association of Special Districts (FASD) conference in Orlando. At the conference, she was also honored with the Most Valuable Member of the Year award.
While she enrolled in the Certified District Manager course, Argue was completely surprised by the Most Valuable Member award. She told the Town-Crier that she has enjoyed working with the FASD. “I have learned tremendous amounts,” she said. “It allows members to not only network and talk about issues and learn, but you can focus on everything related to special districts. It has been a great association to be a member of.”
Argue previously earned her Certified District Official designation.
“The only other thing that was available was the Certified District Manager, so I asked for permission to do that because nobody else has ever done it,” she said. “Members of the association and managers will take the Certified District Official course and then take the Certified District Manager course, sometimes concurrently, but I’m not aware of any other elected official doing both. I think I was the first to do that.”
The week-long district manager course gave her a different way of looking at ITID from a manager’s perspective beyond being an elected supervisor. At the end of the course, enrollees must outline a project they would take to their district to execute.
“My focus has always been on training because I believe that the more people learn, the better we all are,” Argue said. “I haven’t presented it to the board yet because we have been so busy. It hasn’t been a good time to get it on the agenda, but hopefully, once we present it to the board, and the board agrees with it, then we will implement it.”
She recalled that two years into her first term, three new board members were elected.
“I was the board president, and one of the things that I set up was a series of training seminars for the whole board,” Argue recalled. “It was not only for the new board members, it was also for the whole board to be able to have some of those discussions in focusing on the technical side of things and the legal side of things.”
It was also an exercise in communication to get everybody on the same page.
The seminars set up an outline of necessities for a new board member that had been done one-on-one in the past. It also inspired Argue to think about offering training to district staff, using their training experience as an incentive for merit raises.
“This is something, I think, to enrich the experience of the district,” she said, adding that the FASD offers a multitude of courses related to district management. “They’ll focus on different things like planning and ethics.”
She noted that one of the things discussed at a roundtable session was the lack of funding available for COVID-19 relief and other benefits. “The bottom line is that special districts have been left out,” Argue said. “Some cities and counties may have given their special districts some share of that pot of money, but dependent districts would have had the opportunity to get more.”