Jebaily is the right choice for mayor

I first met George Jebaily when we were in college together at Francis Marion University. Having known him for over 40 years, and knowing his style of leadership, passion for the best interest of everyone in Florence and his work ethic to get things done, I believe George Jebaily is the right choice for mayor to lead our city and keep us moving forward.

George and the Jebaily family have been a part of the fabric of Florence for decades, working with many different boards, commissions and nonprofits to advance the best interest of the entire community. The Jebaily Law Firm, where George is the managing partner, has been in downtown Florence serving the people for over 50 years.

George has been in the trenches on many key community projects. I am most familiar with his work to help create the Florence Downtown Development Corporation (FDDC), which started as part of our city’s Florence 2010 plan, that laid the foundation for today’s explosive growth in Florence.

The early activities of the FDDC and the city of Florence were boring and a mundane process, like:

• Hiring an executive director of FDDC.

• Creating and overseeing the implementation of a master plan for our downtown.

• Putting in place overlay districts to allow for design guidelines.

• Creating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to self-fund the development in downtown.

• Writing and passing ordinances to hold building owners accountable for their property.

• Developing and funding streetscapes.

• Acquiring land and determining where breezeways would be built, reserving space for the Florence Little Theater, Florence County Museum, the FMU Performing Art Center and the new Florence County Judicial Center.

This hard work and detailed planning by George and the FDDC provided the catalyst to form special partnerships leading to our success today. The leadership ability to build coalitions among many partners and community members to not only create a vision but to help oversee the implementation of that vision takes leadership and courage. George has a demonstrated track record of both.

Also, let’s not forget that while George was chair of the FDDC, he worked closely with Pat Gibson-Hye Moore and Jeanne Downing to take their idea and create our award-winning South Carolina Pecan Festival, annually bringing over 50,000 people to Florence every November. The festival is entering its 17th year, and George is still the chair of the South Carolina Pecan Festival Committee.

I’m supporting George Jebaily for mayor because he has developed relationships with many different people all across every sector in our community, and when elected mayor, he will use his passion, collaborative leadership style and bridge-building relationships all across our community to move Florence forward, not only in downtown but across our entire city.

I believe George has:

• The vision to see what Florence can become.

• The strength to lead our city to new heights.

• The passion to serve all of us.

TIM NORWOOD

Florence

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