Clarence Anthony

Clarence Anthony, the CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities, will be the closing session speaker during the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show on Saturday, Jan. 22, in Boston.

Anthony, who served for 24 years as mayor of South Bay, Florida, will address the importance of cities and towns engaging in racial equity work and the challenges they are now facing in this area. He will speak about his personal experiences as a Black man leading the NLC and as a public servant, as well as life-shaping stories from his childhood.

First elected at age 24 as mayor of a community of 4,000 residents on Lake Okeechobee, Anthony quickly emerged as a city leader of national and international standing, becoming president of the Florida League of Cities in 1995 and of the NLC in 1999. He was also part of the founding group of Palm Beach County Black Elected Officials and Discover Palm Beach County, the tourism development council. He also served as first vice president of the International Union of Local Authorities.

In South Bay, where he declined the annual mayoral salary of $3,400, he created new educational and economic opportunities for residents, including building his community’s first library.

Following his time in office, he represented local governments as founding treasurer and interim manager of United Cities and Local Governments. He later founded Anthony Government Solutions, a firm focused on strategic visioning, policy development and management restructuring for government and private sector organizations. He is considered an expert in citizen engagement and techniques that build a sense of community within cities.

The NLC, the largest and oldest organization representing America’s municipalities and their leaders, hired Anthony as executive director in 2013. At the time, Mark Funkhouser wrote in Governing magazine that Anthony’s goal was to take the NLC through a strategic-planning process and position it as “a nimble, organized, focused ‘strike force’ on city issues.”

“It seems like a good time to have a savvy small-town mayor who has shown the political acumen to rise to the top of an organization like the NLC advocating for cities and for the people who live in them,” Funkhouser wrote.

Under his leadership, the NLC has advanced policies that expand local control and provide direct funding for local programs related to housing, public safety, infrastructure, economic development and sustainability.

Anthony has also served on the Board of Directors for The GEO Group.

He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in public administration, with a specialization in city growth management policy, at Florida Atlantic University.

He and his wife, Tammy, have a daughter, Skylar, and a son, Reidel, a former wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Anthony can be found on Twitter at @ceanthony50.

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