ALACHUA ‒ City of Alachua commissioners voted on Monday to approve an agreement with Kamal Latham to become the new city manager. This comes after current City Manager Adam Boukari tendered his resignation effective Aug. 5, 2021 to work in the private sector.
Lathan currently serves as assistant city manager, and Boukari recommended Latham for the position of city manager. Lathan will take over the new position on Aug. 5, 2021 with a salary of $144,000.
Over 20 people lined up at the commission meeting to speak and praise the experience and abilities of Latham. Many spoke about his intelligence, past achievements and his ability to listen to the opinions and input from the general public and his staff.
Latham has a strong political background and was appointed by both Presidents Clinton and Bush as a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State. He has won numerous awards for advancing U.S. economic interests overseas, which has included work in China and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In 2013 he relocated to Gainesville to accept a position as Vice President of Public Policy with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. He left that position in 2017 to accept a job as chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority in the Virgin Islands. Latham resigned from that position in 2020 to return to the area and accept a position as Assistant City Manager for the City of Alachua.
Latham has won numerous awards for advancing U.S. economic interests overseas and holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. The Commission voted unanimously to approve the employment contract with Latham.
In other business, the City of Alachua Youth Advisory Council (YAC) received an award from the Florida League of Cities (FLC). YAC participated in the FLC 2021 Youth Council Community Service Contest and was one of five state youth councils to win.
The YAC gathered donated sports equipment for foster children within the surrounding communities. Working with the Guardian Ad Litem Program and the University of Florida baseball and softball teams, YAC members set up donation boxes at various businesses to collect the equipment and also arranged an event for the children to meet the University of Florida baseball and softball teams. The YAC was able to supply over 206 pieces of sports equipment for the event.
FLC Membership Relations Programs Coordinator Eryn Russell presented the YAC with a trophy and a check for $250. The City also honored the group’s efforts with certificates of appreciation.
The Commission approved to increase the City’s portion of a cost share agreement for protection of the Mill Creek Sink and Mill Creek Cave System. On April 7, 2017, the City of Alachua and the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) signed a Memorandum of Agreement for Cost Share Assistance to improve water quality recharging of the Upper Florida Aquifer at the Mill Creek Swallet. The agreement was amended to increase the amount from $1,400,000 to $2,045,899 in order to complete the construction phase of the project.
A program that was put on hold in summer 2020 due to COVID has been reauthorized. The City of Alachua will be conducting a summer camp for youth ages 5 – 13 and an arts and sciences summer camp for high school students to be held at Santa Fe High School. The $100,060 grant to fund the program comes from the Children’s Trust of Alachua County.
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