A familiar face who has been out of the spotlight recently received an honor from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) last month. Former Sheriff David Gee was presented with the Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award for his service to the community.
The award, which was established by the BOCC in 1996, is presented annually to an individual or group of individuals who has played a significant role in improving government through leadership and vision.
Gee, born in Plant City and a life-long Hillsborough County resident, retired recently after 13 years as Hillsborough County Sheriff. Before taking on the role of sheriff, he spent time as a homicide investigator, Internal Affairs Supervisor, public information officer, chief financial officer and chief deputy.
According to Hillsborough County Senior Media Relations Strategist Kara Walker, in his capacity as sheriff, Gee was responsible for managing one of the largest suburban sheriff’s offices in the nation, with more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget of $405 million.
After accepting the award at the BOCC’s April 4 meeting, Gee thanked his former staff at the Sheriff’s Office for their support.
“It was an honor and privilege to have received such a prestigious award,” said Gee. “However, this award is not about me, it’s all about the great men and women of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and their dedication and commitment to the citizens of Hillsborough County.”
Gee became sheriff in 2004 and was re-elected three times until his retirement last year. During his time as sheriff, he was a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, chairman of the Attorney General’s Region 4 Gang Reduction Test Force, chair of the Florida Highway Patrol Jurisdiction Subcommittee of the Governor’s Law Enforcement Consolidation task Force and co-chairman of the Region 4 Domestic Security Task Force.
Finalists for the Simmons award are chosen each year by the Good Government Award Committee which examines the significant events, leadership opportunities and outstanding achievement of nominees. Previous winners include former governor Bob Martinez and former mayors Pam Iorio and Dick Greco.