District 3 Commissioner Jeff Gold has been elected as chairman of the Marion County Commission.
Gold served as vice chairman the past year and his vice chairman will be Commissioner Carl Zalak III. The native of Marion County retired from both Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after nearly 30 years of service.
In that law enforcement role, he served as the bomb squad commander, patrol supervisor and SWAT team member.
Gold, who holds degrees in business management, criminal justice, emergency medical services and fire science, also has worked as a contracted military and public safety instructor.
Zalak said he is proud to call Marion County home and as a business owner and civic leader, he has “dedicated” himself to improve the community. He has promised as a commissioner to “face the tough issues of jobs and solid waste.” He has been committed to protecting water rights, reducing wasteful spending and standing up for constitutional freedoms.
Each member of the commission also thanked David Moore for his eight years as the District 1 commissioner. He decided not to seek a third term and instead made a failed run at becoming Marion County’s property appraiser. He was presented with a framed photograph of Fort King in honor of his work in restoring that historic location and was asked by outgoing Chairman Kathy Bryant to lead Tuesday morning’s meeting.
Bryant, who will remain as the District 2 representative, thanked her fellow commissioners and staff members for working together to get through a year that was made extremely difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, she implored Gov. Ron DeSantis to reopen Florida after he announced that restaurants could reopen at 25 percent, even though his task force had recommended 50 percent. She will preside over the State of the County address that’s planned for Nov. 12.