Biography - Verdenia C. Baker
Verdenia, a certified government financial manager, was chosen as the next Palm Beach County Administrator in 2015. She oversees 6,800 positions and balances a $6 billion budget. Palm Beach County is Florida’s third largest county with a population of 1.5 million and growing. Notably Palm Beach is one of four Florida counties and one of 50 counties nationally achieving the AAA bond rating, critical for financial stability.
Verdenia’s career with Palm Beach County began as a budget analyst in 1987. She demonstrates the ability to collaborate with strategic partners to enhance the quality of life for residents and businesses. Verdenia led negotiations in recruiting the Florida Scripps Research Institute to Palm Beach County, a foundation of the local biotechnology industry. Verdenia again was the leader in a voter-approved 2016 Infrastructure Sales Tax initiative. Estimates are to generate $2.7 billion for new and renovated schools, roads and facilities over a 10-year period.
Recognizing equality of housing, representation, and business opportunities for all, Verdenia led initiatives such as the Mandatory Inclusionary Workforce Housing Program, Community Land Trust, re-implemented the small/minority/women business enterprise program in 2019, and the recently created Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Verdenia is actively involved with tourist development, securing events such as the third presidential debate in 2012, Super Bowls in 2001, 2007 and 2020, and Major League Baseball Spring Training expansion. Achievements for Census redistricting in 2000, 2010 and recently for 2020.
Verdenia holds a Master of Science Degree in Public Administration, Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitative Services, both from Florida State University. Verdenia affiliates with national, state, local, professional and community organizations and has received numerous accolades. While Verdenia’s acknowledgements span decades, most recently she just was one of 15 awarded Women Who Move the Nation by COMTO, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in Washington D.C. Some of her recognitions in 2021 include Florida’s Onyx Magazine’s one of 2021’s Women on the Move, honoring the state’s most impactful and influential women. The Palm Beach County Black Business Investment Corporation honored Verdenia with the Joseph C. Bova Award in February 2021. The CEO stated Verdenia is the calm in any storm, never gives up and perseveres while advocating the rights of small/minority/women business enterprises. In May 2021, because of a collaboration in response to the pandemic, Verdenia, the county’s Florida Department of Health director and Health Care District CEO received the 2021 Leadership Heroes in Medicine Award from the Palm Beach County Medical Society. In July 2021, Verdenia obtained the role as President of the Florida Association of County Managers, a collective body of all 67 counties in Florida. In mid-August, the President of the National Association of Counties, NACo appointed Verdenia to Healthy Counties Advisory Board. NACo is comprised of nearly 2,500 counties, which serve 40,000 elected county officials and 3.6 million county employees.
Verdenia is married to Joe and they have two daughters, Jasmin, Shannee, and granddaughter, Lauren Nicole.