- February 18, 2021
GEORGE OLIVER III
Commissioner George Oliver III is the first African American commissioner elected to the District 4 seat. Born in Tarpon Springs and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Oliver has been an Ocoee resident for more than 20 years.
How did you find your way to Ocoee?
"I was transferring from my job from Jacksonville to Orange County. My wife is originally from Orange County so we were coming back to Orlando. We were in Orlando for a couple of years, and as we started to look for places to stay, we … found ourselves in Ocoee, and we found (that) was the place we wanted to call home and moved here with our kids in 2002. … The city slogan was really captivating, it was “The Center of Good Living,” and I really loved that. … It had a lot to do with my upbringing, I was exposed to a lot of civil rights leaders as I grew up in Atlanta … and these were people who I found influential in my life.
Why are you running for the mayor seat?
Well, being a commissioner for almost five years now, I’ve had the opportunity to watch how we operate and to see some of the things we do as we take on projects, I’ve seen those things very well. I’ve also seen some things in the city that kind of give me pause as far as how we operate, how we make decisions, changes of some projects and things of that nature, and I’ve sat there and I’ve made my voice vocal a lot about some of these things and accountability, but they seem to have fallen on deaf ears in a lot of instances. So with that being said, the other only thing to do have more influence in the change is a thing of this level, and that is running for mayor.
Accountability is the first thing, I called for an operational audit when I first got here on the city commission. … I asked for the audit when I got there, and I was told it was never done. …
So I started to look for a comprehensive plan for the city, and there were no strategic goals, meaning that we had no mission and no vision. That really took me aback. … We should be writing every decision that we make, every project, to mitigate some of the risk when it comes to projects.
What is your vision for the city?
The first thing I would do would be implement an operational audit. Beyond that, I would also bring an operational company to engage the citizens of Ocoee in a process where we can come up with a mission and a vision for our city. We’ll also have surveys that will go out, as well as direct phone calls and direct conversations with the citizens to help us get a mission and a vision for the city and a strategic plan.
How do you differ from the other candidates?
It goes back to what I say about accountability and strategic planning. I don’t think the other two candidates have considered some of these things. I can say that the current mayor, I’ve never hear him talk about strategic planning. I’ve never heard him speak about a mission and a vision for the city. I’ve never heard him speak on the accountability in terms of the operational audit, we are definitely two different candidates in terms of that.
As it pertains to Chris Adkins, (he) and I stand forward on accountability, and we have had many conversations about that, so I can say we are definitely the same when it comes to that. But I don’t think Chris has come up with a plan as such, nor do I think the current mayor has come up with a plan ... so I have my high points in my plan … and it drills down into how we are going to achieve these goals.