Accepts position with Tennessee Supreme Court
Joseph Byrd, the city attorney for Apopka that served during one of its more tumultuous periods, announced his resignation at the City Council meeting on Wednesday.
“The opportunity to serve you Mayor (Bryan Nelson), this City Council and the leaders and staff of the City of Apopka has truly been an exceptional experience for me and I am the better for it,” said Byrd. “I have admired the concern and commitment that each member of this City Council has demonstrated in fulfilling your obligations to the citizens that you each represent. You have my respect and admiration.”
Chosen out of 68 candidates, Byrd brought a wealth of experience and expertise. His education included both a law degree and doctorate in theology, and his resume told the story of wide-ranging private and public competencies including real estate, probate, estate planning, document reviews, advising governments on development projects, serving as counsel for 100 churches, and guiding city compliance with emergency management rules after a natural disaster.
According to his resignation letter, the Board of Professional Responsibility for the Tennessee Supreme Court offered him a position, which he accepted.
Besides handling a myriad of city lawsuits and issues common to government, Byrd had the challenge of handling the contentious internal legal investigation of the city’s Fire Department in 2019. Byrd pursued resolution, finally finding conclusion with Apopka Fire Chief Chuck Carnesale’s resignation in September.
Byrd cited family and personal reasons for his resignation.
“As you are aware, my family has struggled to settle in comfortably in this area since I accepted the position as the first full–time City Attorney for Apopka. Most of my family lives in Tennessee and North Carolina.”
He also praised the administration and staff he worked with at City Hall.
“I have enjoyed working the City Administrator, Edward Bass and City Clerk, Linda Goff on a daily basis and developed great appreciation for their competency and dedication as well as their attention to detail and commitment to compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of this state.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the exceptional work of Kristi Funke who joined with legal last year in her role as Risk Specialist – her tenure in the City and commitment to excellence has made me more effective in my work and serves this City well.
The Directors, Managers and employees that I have had the opportunity to work with have always left an impression upon me as fulfilling their responsibilities as good stewards of what has been entrusted to them. I cannot adequately express my fondness for so many who have befriended me and allowed me to partner with them in their work and who have allowed me to be part of their lives.
Finally, Mr. Mayor, it has been an honor to serve under your administration. Your experience and knowledge serve this community in ways that perhaps the general public will not be able to see or understand. As you have allowed me to stand alongside of you as your legal counsel in many instances where the heavy burdens of your office pressed in, I can say I have never found a more committed public servant than you who truly cares about his city and in his desire to faithfully fulfill the duties of his office with principled discipline. It has a been a distinct privilege to serve under your administration and work with the City Council and staff of the City of Apopka. Thank you for granting me that privilege.”
Byrd begins his new role on May 1st. His last day as Apopka City Attorney is April 29th.