Leadership Team Bios

Ava Ehde, Neighborhood Services Department Director: Nearly 18 years in public service with Manatee County, working directly with the residents initially as customers of the award-winning Manatee Libraries and Neighborhood Services since December 2017. Under Ava’s leadership, Manatee Libraries won Library of the Year and two Innovation Awards from the Florida Library Association for highly creative community programming. Ava's customer-service approach is rooted in having more than 20 years in the private sector before working in academics and now public service where she leads a team that facilitates a wide range of well-coordinated essential human services. She is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Manatee, 2017 Florida Librarian of the Year and a Manatee County Employee of the Month (May 2014).

Elaine Maholtz, Human Services Program Manager: Serves as lead for the implementation of the Manatee County Community Health and Wellbeing CARES Act funding, along with Kalee Shaberts, Grants Coordinator. and Debbie Carpenter, Compliance Coordinator. This implementation involves the coordination of both funding applications and funding agreements in order to distribute CARES Act funds to local nonprofits to assist in their response to local human service needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee Washington, County Veterans Services Officer: Leads the team that advocates for Veterans and their families as it relates to military service disabilities, education, housing, medical care, Veterans Preference, burial and survivor benefits. Lee has served as Veterans advocate/counselor for 11 years and is an 11-year Veteran of the US Marine Corps. Prior to Manatee County, he was a mortgage banker for 10 years. Lee is a Manatee County Employee of the Year (2013), graduate of Leadership Manatee (2014/15) and Senior Vice President for the County Veterans Services Officers Association of Florida (CVSOAFL).

Kristi Hagen, Interim Human Services Manager: Serves as the liaison for the Children’s Services Advisory Board, which makes investment recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners for programming that benefits children throughout Manatee County. Kristi manages all aspects of Children’s Service contracts. She is a Blackbaud Grantmaking administrator and has earned certification. Since 1990, she has gained vast knowledge and experience in business management, leadership and early childhood services. Kristi has successfully completed Leadership I and II modules through the County. Her experience comes from a line of professions that focus on the care and wellbeing of children.

Tracie Adams, Human Services Program Manager: Manages the Aging and Eligibility Services, which enable seniors, aged 60+, to receive much needed in- home services so that they can remain at home and this is funded through the state of Florida. Her team provides a variety of assistance programs, such as health care and Rx assistance to those county residents in need through an application process. Tracie started working for the County in 1997 as an aging services case manager, then when on to become a contract manager and then program manager. Before the County, she worked in adult daycare and Adult Protective Services for the State of Texas.

Debbie DeLeon, Neighborhood Connections Division Manager: Has over 30 years in public service within Manatee County working directly with neighborhoods and in the human services field. She has established the protocols for assisting the neighborhoods within the County and actively participates in numerous monthly events and community meetings. She has been awarded Manatee County Government's rare ACE (Accountability, Civility & Ethics) pin and is an Employee of the Month. Debbie is fluent in Spanish. 

Jennifer B. Burgh, Probation Services Manager: Performs administrative and supervisory work related to the Probation Services Division. Duties include interacting with all facets of the Criminal Justice System clients, judges, Court and Clerk personnel, attorneys, law enforcement agencies; conducting off-site programs and making public presentations; and developing, implementing and monitoring probation-related programs, processes and associated reports files and records. Supervision of all division staff and programs, including misdemeanor probation, pretrial release, offender work program, pretrial intervention, victim impact panel and special response team. Jennifer previously worked in probation at Broward Sheriff’s Office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Elizabeth Partridge, Library Services Manager: Recently relocated to Manatee County from Longview Public Library in Longview, Washington, where she served for 15 years as the Adult Services Librarian responsible for developing programs for adults and families in ESL (English as a Second Language), literacy, digital literacy, basic technology, arts and culture and more. Elizabeth holds Masters Degrees in Library Science, Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language. With both higher-education teaching and library experience, she has tackled community challenges and led several collaborative projects to increase access and effectiveness of small business development, job readiness and educational literacy programs and activities.

Angela Wilson, Fiscal Services Manager:  
Oversees a six-person team that provides oversight and management for the department’s budget, finances and alignment to procedures outlined by the Clerk of Court. Additionally, fiscal leadership is provided to all Division and Section-level Managers and library fiscal personnel within Neighborhood Services. Angie joined Manatee County Government in 2003 as a fiscal specialist with the Community Services Department after working in the accounting department at Blake Medical Center for 5 years. Outside of County work, Angie jointly operates a locally owned lawn and landscape maintenance company, which has been operating since 1992.

Dr. Renese M. Remy, Criminal Justice Policy Coordinator: Works to maintain close working relationships with other criminal justice agencies, community funders and partners, ensuring a broad approach to the criminal justice system to include behavioral health, child welfare, substance abuse, homeless and poverty, inmate healthcare and others. Dr. Remy coordinates policies and programs of various criminal justice agencies within Manatee County in an effort to enhance services, reduce inefficiencies and gaps in the system and promote collaboration between agencies to support the goals and mission of the Board of County Commissioners. In addition, she manages grant funding and contracts and serves as staff liaison, chair and vice-chair to various boards and commissions that support the criminal justice system and the mission of the Board of County Commissioners. Dr. Remy holds a doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration and a Master’s Degree in Adult Education. Before her 10 years here at Manatee County, she worked for 12 years in the areas of Behavioral Health, Healthcare and Risk Management, Medical Records and Court Administration.

Jim Gagliardi, Business System Support Manager: Responsible for improving the current operations and procedures for Neighborhood Services, Jim monitors and recommends software, hardware and business systems.  He works closely with all team members to understand business user requirements and implements processes to meet those needs. Jim has 15 years’ experience working in healthcare, 10 years in hospitality support and 10 years in finance and consulting.

Kelly Foster, Marketing & Outreach Specialist: Kelly has 15 years of private sector experience developing effective collateral and client relationships for the real estate, finance, technology, architectural/engineering and construction industries, in both the national and regional marketplaces, along with five years in the public sector here at Manatee County. She is responsible for the overall department branding and messaging, including social media. She holds a Master's in Management from Notre Dame of Maryland University (Baltimore), is a 2017/18 Leadership Manatee Graduate and is actively involved in youth-oriented community service, including serving as the Chair (2019-21) on the Junior Leadership Manatee board, past advisory board member (and current volunteer) for Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee and Parental Advisor for a Kiwanis-sponsored Builders Club.

Janice Dunbar-Smith, Administrative Services Coordinator: Serves as a personnel liaison with Human Resources, overseeing functions associated with various employee programs, hiring, employment performance evaluations, FMLA, incident/accidents reports, drug-free workplace, maintaining confidential files, payroll timekeeping and insurance coordination to help facilitate all aspects of their health care coverage. Janice has served as the department's United Way Coordinator for the past 10 years.

Lorrie See, Administrative Services Coordinator: 
Lorrie serves as the HR Liaison for the Libraries, coordinating many aspects of the HR function to include recruitment, employee relations, benefits, training, FMLA, worker’s compensation, workplace accidents and performance management. Lorrie earned her MBA from Bentley University (Waltham, MA) and a Bachelor’s in Human Resources Management from Boston College. Previously, Lorrie worked for Sarasota County government and also performed human resources/organizational development work with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Departments of Agriculture and Defense in Washington, D.C.