Secory: Private-public sector experience
Pallavi Agarwal | Highlands TodaySEBRING Democrat - Gerald "Jed" Secory, running for the supervisor of elections seat, is a military brat who has lived all over the country but considers himself a small-town person.
Published: July 26, 2012
Published: July 26, 2012
That's why Highlands County appeals to him.
The 56-year-old moved here in 1993 to become the purchasing manager for the Department of Corrections' Avon Park Corrections Institution.
That not only started a new chapter in his life, it marked a lifelong transition for him – from the private sector to the public.
Now, he runs six departments as the administrative services director for Highlands County, moving up after being the county's general services purchasing director for 11 years.
Secory oversees general services/purchasing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), human resources/insurance, non ad-valorem assessment, office of management and budget, and safety and risk management.
"I am a very systematic, logical person," he said.
For 17 years he was in the marine and trucking industry. He worked as a mechanic, a shipping and receiving clerk, a warehouse manager, an assistant parts manager and even was a part owner of a filters and heavy duty parts company.
He considers that blend of public and private sector experience as what sets him apart from his contenders. Secory will face the winner of the Republican primary in the November general elections.
"I will run the (supervisor of elections) office as a business," he said.
Along with an MBA from Warner University, Secory has a bachelor's degree in organization management and several certifications in his field.
"I am in a unique position with my background and education," he said.
A supervisor of elections does not make policy. They follow elections law set by the state legislature, run the elections, manage their staff and do the budgets for their departments.
Secory said that since he is in the procurement area, he's familiar with state statutes. As head of the county's budget department he knows how numbers work, he said. He oversees about 18 people, he said, and one of his responsibilities includes running the county's phone system.
"All of these departments that I run affect the running of the supervisor of elections office," he said.
If elected, he hopes to utilize more technology in the office. Faced with a budget crunch, Secory wants to look at the whole operation and see how they could provide the services at a lower cost.
"Once again, you've got to have input from your staff," he said, adding that he is "very frugal."
Secory also wants people to realize their vote counts.
"We have to bring the value of the vote back," he said. "'Why vote?' I hear it all the time. ..That's what we've lost."
While voters need to take the time to vote and educate themselves before they vote, Secory wants to recognize those who take the time to cast their ballot.
"I want to go to the people and make them feel important," he said.
He also wants to do something to enhance the "validity of the registered vote," referring to recent controversy over how non-citizens were found to be on the election rolls.
What he has in mind is a laminated voter card, something like a driver's license.