Create a Website Account - Manage notification subscriptions, save form progress and more.
The City of Haines City is proud to welcome Joanna Abernathy as Assistant City Manager.
Abernathy has spent her entire career as a public servant. She began her career in government working in the U.S. House of Representatives for Congressmen Porter Goss and Dave Weldon.
For more than 10 years, she has been a city clerk for various municipalities, including the Town of Palm Beach, West Palm Beach and Greenacres in Palm Beach County, where she obtained her Certified Municipal Clerk and Master Municipal Clerk certifications. She implemented a Department of State Passport Processing Facility within City Hall at Greenacres, which proved to be resoundingly successful.
Abernathy is happy to work alongside City Manager, Edward Walker Dean, fellow Assistant City Manager, Auburn Taylor, and city staff. She began her tenure on Monday, Jan. 3.
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to be part of a beautiful city and to work with such a dedicated and talented staff,” Abernathy said. “Haines City has grown and made such tremendous progress in recent years, and I’m eager to help keep this city moving forward.”
Legislatively, Abernathy has received gubernatorial appointments to the Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations (LCIR) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, where she reviewed housing and employment discrimination cases. She also served on the Florida League of Cities Finance, Taxation and Personnel Committee in 2019. She has been a licensed Real Estate Sales Associate since 2008.
Abernathy was married and moved to Polk County in 2020. Prior to relocating, she was Assistant Village Manager in Palm Springs, Fla. She is currently a member of the Florida City and County Manager’s Association (FCCMA), Florida Records Management Association (FRMA), Florida Association of City Clerks (FACC), Florida Association of Realtors, and Mensa, the high IQ society.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Scranton, and a master’s degree in Public Administration/Emergency Management from Anna Maria College. Abernathy has received numerous awards throughout her career for identifying cost savings, increasing efficiencies, and writing Comprehensive Emergency Management and Records Management Plans.
Abernathy has also volunteered her time as a Board of Director to Dress for Success Palm Beaches, Relay and Bark for Life with the American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters and various animal charities.
She and her husband Billy, Polk County Emergency Coordinator, have two Jack Russell Terriers and a Corgi. They love to explore Florida in their micro-camper and attend Tampa Bay Buccaneers games.
“Joanna brings a ton of experience to the table, but she’s also very community-minded and has a plethora of certifications and skills that will be an asset to our city,” Dean said. “She’s extremely ambitious, a proven leader and we’re proud to add her to our team.”