Verdenia C. Baker
As Palm Beach County Administrator, Verdenia Baker is responsible for carrying out the policies of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. A certified financial manager, Verdenia manages the daily operation of county government, which includes more than 5,500 employees and an annual budget of approximately $5.2 billion. Palm Beach County is one of the few counties in the nation with AAA general obligation bond ratings from all three of the major rating agencies and most recently received a AAA revenue bond rating from Standard & Poor's. Verdenia serves an estimated county population of 1.5 million residents.
Verdenia began her career with Palm Beach County in 1987 as a budget analyst. She was promoted to impact fee coordinator and eventually became a division director with the Financial Management Department. Verdenia's experience in financial management was a prelude to her promotion to assistant county administrator and, within a year, to deputy county administrator. She served in that capacity for 15 years before being selected county administrator by the Board of County Commissioners in 2015.
In 2016, Verdenia led a successful one-cent infrastructure surtax initiative for Palm Beach County that included partnerships with the Palm Beach County School District and the League of Cities. She was successful in collaborating with the business community and local civic groups in garnering broad support for the passage of the surtax. Verdenia was a key partner in the successful 2017 Countywide Housing Summit and served as liaison and lead negotiator on the successful recruitment of The Scripps Research Institute, kick starting the county's growing biotechnology industry. In addition, she has been instrumental in development and implementation of the Mandatory Inclusionary Workforce Housing Program, the Community Land Trust of Palm Beach County and the growth tiered system. Verdenia was responsible for redistricting of the seven County Commission districts in 2000 and 2010.
Verdenia collaborates daily with representatives of other jurisdictions, developers, private industry, and civic and community organizations on issues of interest pertaining to county business. She represents the county on public and private regional initiatives including but not limited to the Boca Bowl, the 2001 and 2007 Super Bowls, and the third presidential debate in 2012. Fiduciary responsibilities remain on the top of her agenda as she reviews and approves departmental and agency budgets before passing them on to the Board of County Commissioners for approval.
Verdenia holds a master's degree in Public Administration and a bachelor's degree in Rehabilitative Services, both from Florida State University. She has received numerous local and national professional and civic awards and has affiliation with a number of professional and community organizations including:
• Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Counties-County Managers
• Inaugural National Association of Counties-Counties Future Labs
• Executive Women of the Palm Beaches
• International Women's Forum, Florida (IWF)
• Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. lifetime member
• Women of Tomorrow Mentor Program
• Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church deacon ministry and youth ministry
Verdenia is the immediate past-president of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators Executive Board, a former board member with the Black Chamber of Commerce, former president of the American Society for Public Administration Treasure Coast Chapter, former board member of the Business Loan Fund of the Palm Beaches, former vice chair of the St. Mary's Medical Center Board of Directors, and former member of the Band Parent Association of Suncoast High School.