- Published on Saturday, 21 January 2012 23:27
- Written by Special to Alachua County Today
- Hits: 5830
Alachua County government is at a crossroads, with significant changes occurring to the County Commission due to three seats being up for election in 2012. An interim County Manager was recently appointed, and the County Attorney and many long-time county employees are retiring soon.
Robert Hutchinson served one term on the Alachua County Commission, from 1998-2002. Other jobs have included Development Director for the Florida Museum of Natural History, Director of the Gainesville Downtown Redevelopment Agency, and Director of Alachua Conservation Trust, Inc. (a position he currently holds). Hutchinson graduated from Gainesville High School in 1971 and from Emory University (B.A. Psychology) in 1974. He is married to Meg Niederhofer, Gainesville’s recently retired City Arborist, and is 59 years old.
Says Hutchinson, “Twelve years ago, issues at the forefront in Alachua County included growth management, environmental protection and land conservation, and finding ways to reduce jail over-crowding and improve courthouse safety.” During my one term in office, the Alachua County Forever program was created with voter support, the Criminal Courthouse was completely funded with voter support, and Emergency 911 communications was consolidated between City and County – an efficiency that had eluded previous local officials for decades.”
“Today, the issues I will focus on include how to fund transportation, particularly road maintenance; how to protect our water resources which are being polluted and given away; and how to innovate in business and technology while also finding ways to help those in need of mental health or substance abuse assistance, or who find themselves homeless for economic reasons. I intend to pick up where departing commissioners left off by immersing myself in local charitable and faith-based efforts to see how they can work more seamlessly with government programs.”