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Three names sent to the court to fill public member vacancy on the Board of Govenors

Senior Editor Top Stories

The Executive Committee has approved a slate of three nominees to fill a pending public member vacancy on the Board of Governors.

The names will be forwarded to the Supreme Court for eventual appointment to replace public member Sharon Middleton, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident whose second two-year term expires in June.

The nominees are:

• Linda Goldstein of Tampa, president of Goldstein Communications and a former director of communications and strategic planning for the Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Court.

• Lawrence Gordon of Haverhill, president of Phoenix Mediation, LLC; a certified circuit civil mediator; a former paralegal and investigator with a private law firm, and vice mayor and 10-year veteran of the Town Council of Haverhill.

• Marni F. Stahlman of Winter Park, the executive director of the not-for-profit Conductive Education Center of Orlando, a private school for children and adults with motor disabilities; former president and CEO of Shepherd’s Hope, a not-for-profit that provides health care to the uninsured and underinsured at five clinics in Orange and Seminole counties, and former chief operating officer of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Florida.

The Executive Committee approved the slate at a March 20 teleconference meeting that was convened in lieu of a Board of Governors meeting that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

A Board of Governors review committee pored over 22 applications and culled the three names after interviewing eight candidates in Orlando in February, said board member Thomas Wert, who chaired the review committee.

“All three of these applicants have tremendous people skills, charisma, and long histories of dealing with people in a variety of situations,” Wert said. “They have served in leadership roles, they’re clearly people with initiative and good values.”

Since 1987, two public members have served on the Bar’s 52-member governing board, after the Supreme Court approved the organization’s request to have nonlawyer representation on the board. Only 12 other state bars include public members on their governing boards.

The other public member currently serving on the Board of Governors is Joseph “Jody” Hudgins of Naples. The new public member will serve a two-year term that begins June 19, 2020.

After the Executive Committee voted to approve the slate of three nominees, President John Stewart praised the nominees and predicted that the Supreme Court would face a difficult decision.

“It’s good to have the problem of having so many good people, and certainly the Supreme Court is going to have a hard time picking one of them,” Stewart said.

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