Wednesday, January 07, 2009
ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD: PHIL MAYS HUNG THE MOON
New commissioner fills board
Phillip Mays fills seat vacated by Tom Manuel
By PETER GUINTA
Publication Date: 01/07/09
Newly sworn-in St. Johns County Commissioner Phillip Mays, 41, became the fifth member of the board Tuesday, the last of three new commissioners to be seated -- and the only one appointed.
The other four commissioners greeted him warmly.
On Dec. 23, Gov. Charlie Crist asked Mays to fill the District 4 seat vacated by County Commission Chairman Tom Manuel, whom Crist suspended Oct. 17.
Mays' application for the post said his qualifications include "extensive business, legal and civic background and experience including significant work related to finance and strategic planning."
On Tuesday, he said he's also quite familiar with real estate issues, having worked as an attorney on real estate transactions, corporate purchases and condemnation, among other aspects.
"I'll act in a reasonable and responsible manner toward everybody," Mays said. "I tend to analyze things, and that probably goes back to my legal training. I have experience in growth planning and management and favor sensible growth versus damaging growth."
County Judge Charles J. Tinlin swore Mays in, and the new commissioner immediately expressed his desire to work with the other commissioners to benefit St. Johns County.
His company, Mays Equity Inc., of Jacksonville Beach, is an investment management firm.
"We have capital and look for people with ideas," he said, adding that the company specializes in building recreational facilities, such as tennis centers.
Mays graduated from the University of Florida in 1988 with political science and history degrees, then entered UF's College of Law and graduated in 1991. Since 1992, he worked almost exclusively as an investment management attorney for various firms before starting his own company.
In his office after the first commission meeting of 2009, Mays talked about the county's growth.
"The free market has taken care of residential housing -- for now," he said. "We have so much (housing) approved, it will take years to absorb. Some projects already started will never be developed."
A Gainesville native, Mays said his father, an avid tennis player, came from California. Mays and his wife have three children.
One project the new commissioner is passionate about is finding local shovel-ready projects that could qualify for funding under President Obama's federal stimulus package. The president wants to fund projects that already have engineering and permits completed and simply need funding to get started.
"We need to make our best effort to get some of that money for roads and other projects," Mays said. "What we do know is that there is a very big stimulus package out there. We need to be ready."
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