A major part of the Greater Naples Leadership experience is the Session Day, focusing on various aspects of Collier County, from History Day to Immokalee Day, and six to seven other such days in between.  Each full and informative Session Day team consists of 4 members of the previous year’s class and is an obligation of participation in the GNL program.

Government Day was in November and here is how the day went:

The venue for the morning session was the South Regional Library on Lely Cultural Parkway in Naples.  The day began with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner by a guest vocalist from Lely High School who was immediately followed by our first speaker of the day, Sandy Parker, Government Committee Chair, League of Women Voters and GNL Alumni who took the class through a review of their pre-read entitled “Our Florida Government: An Introduction.”

Next Mark Isackson, Director of Corporate Finance and Management Services for Collier County helped the class to “Follow the Money” as he reviewed the sources of revenue for Collier County, who decides the allocation of funds and where the money goes.

One of the most valuable sessions followed as current and former elected state, county and city officials addressed the key issues that face Collier County, The City of Naples and The City of Marco Island.  Kathleen Passidomo, State Representative, District 106, Donna Fiala, County Commissioner, District 1, Gary Price, Former Vice Mayor, City of Naples and Larry Honig, City Councilman, City of Marco Island participated in a lively, interactive discussion with the class about the challenges and the actions to address these issues.

The next session was “The Decision Making Process-An Insider’s Perspective.”  A panel comprised of GNL Alumni Bob Berlam, Norman Feder and Karl Kuehner, all active in local politics, discussed their involvement in the political process and why/how they became involved.

After lunch, we took a short walk to the Collier County Emergency Services Center where Class XIX was introduced to Collier County Government’s preparedness to deliver one its key mandates – the safety of its citizens.  Dan Summers, Director, CCSO Emergency Services Center conducted a tour of the Center and spoke about the County’s plans and capabilities to deal with actual emergencies that threaten our safety. [Pat Rutledge, Class VXIII]