On September 16th the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an employment contract with Nassau County’s own, Taco E. Pope, for the position of County Manager. Following the motion, a round of applause broke from county department directors and other local government officials in attendance.
“Nassau County is my home, it is where I grew up, where I am raising my kids, and I don’t intend to ever leave. I chose to dedicate the last 15 years of my professional career to Nassau. I am proud of the fact that I was asked to be the Planning Director, I was asked to be the Asst. County Manager and I have now been asked to serve as the County Manager. If the citizens will have me, I will dedicate the next 15 years of my career to Nassau in whatever capacity the Board feels is appropriate. I just want to be a part of the team.” - Taco E. Pope, AICP
Taco holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Florida Gulf Coast University and two Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees from the University of North Florida; a BBA in Business Management and a BBA in Transportation and Logistics. Taco also holds professional accreditation as a community planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a ‘full member’ of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Florida City/County Management Association (FCCMA), a member of the American Planning Association (APA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Taco not only brings local knowledge to the County Manager position; he also brings15 years of local government experience. Of the 15 years, seven years were spent in supervisory roles with the last five years being in management where he served as the County’s Director of Planning and Economic Opportunity and then as the Assistant County Manager. During that time, Taco has been instrumental in fostering a collaborative, community-based approach to community formation through meaningful public engagement, transparency and a holistic view of quality of life.
Taco’s approach to governance has resulted in a number of State and Regional Awards including, most recently, the 2018 Best Practices in Community Planning from the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association; a 2018 Regional Award for Master Planning of Land Areas from the Florida Planning & Zoning Association; a 2018 Regional Award for Planning & Growth Management from the Northeast Florida Regional Council; a 2019 Regional Award for Outstanding Public Participation from the Florida Planning & Zoning Association.
In addition, Taco’s collaborate and community-based approach to his profession has resulted in requests to serve on both State and Regional boards and committees. Currently, Taco serves on the Florida Association of Counties Trust (FACT) Board of Trustees; the Regional Community Institute of Northeast Florida’s Board of Directors; he is the staff liaison to the Small County Coalition of Florida, and was recently appointed to the newly formed Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Taskforce.
On the personal front, Taco resides in Yulee with his wife of 10 years, Amy, and their two sons. His oldest son was part of the 2020 graduating class at Yulee High School. His youngest son attends Wildlight Elementary School.
When asked why he wants to be County Manager, Taco stated, “Nassau County is my home, it means something to me. I consider myself lucky to have been raised here and to have the opportunity to raise my boys here. I want to craft a community they can enjoy with their grandkids and a community that all residents are proud to call home.”
Taco has also been involved in athletics throughout his life. He was one of the founders of the Yulee Basketball Association (Yulee’s youth basketball league) and has coached numerous youth basketball teams including, three years as the assistant coach at Yulee Middle School. In the late 2000’s, Taco represented the USA as a member of the USA Tomahawks (now the USA Hawks), the USA’s representative team in the Ruby League, for three years. He earned several international appearances including three Atlantic Cup Championships and a World Cup Qualifying match. He also played six seasons in the AMNRL/USARL with the Jacksonville Axemen rugby league team and was placed into the Jacksonville Axemen Hall of Fame in 2015.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Human Resources at (904) 530-6075.
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