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Hernando neighbors | Karen Phillips, 54

Brooksville's Karen Phillips sees a city on the rise

Karen Phillips, Brooksville’s director of administration, has also served as city clerk.

RON THOMPSON | Times

Karen Phillips, Brooksville’s director of administration, has also served as city clerk.

How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?

My husband, Ray, and I relocated to Florida in September 1984 and we currently live in a rural subdivision just a little northwest of Brooksville.

Who are the members of your family?

I've been married to Ray since 1983, although we've been together since 1973. I have a wonderful stepdaughter, Renee Gini, who is married to Dr. Ryan Gini, a family practitioner. They live in Reno, Nev., with our two grandchildren: Ryder, 2, and Ronan, 5 months old.

Tell us about your career.

Having tried my hand in the real estate market for a while, I wanted to get back to my clerical roots and started with the city of Brooksville in 1987 as the assistant to the city manager. In 1988, I was appointed city clerk, and a few years later I was appointed director of administration.

I had never worked for a public agency before and at first found it very different from my experience in private industry. But as I continued and learned more and more, I found I truly loved the challenge and gained such a great respect and love for Brooksville.

What kinds of activities are you involved in now?

I joined the Rotary Club of Brooksville and the United Way of Hernando County at just about the same time, and it's really amazing how closely entwined they are — both in the people who are members and some of the projects. I'm also personally involved in the annual Tangerine Time New Year's Eve community party, which as been orchestrated by Wayne Vutech from Archer Painting.

Do you have any special hobbies?

I was shocked to learn that I really love the game of golf. … We've also recently become boaters.

What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?

Talking to people, checking out different neighborhoods, enjoying a relaxing day out in the sun and eating out at the many restaurants that are finally springing up around town. I also absolutely love being a part of the City Hall Art Gallery and am so very proud of the work that has been accomplished in making it such a respected success.

What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?

I've seen so many changes in Hernando County since we first moved here, and I really think there needs to be more amenities for our residents to be able to participate in, such as cultural activities, entertainment venues, shopping centers and employment opportunities. Sure would love to see a good-quality outlet mall spring up somewhere in the vicinity! And, more importantly, our residents are getting younger, and so many families are here now, which I feel is critical to the continuing growth and vitality of Hernando County.

Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at jhayes@sptimes.com or 848-1438.

Brooksville's Karen Phillips sees a city on the rise 05/18/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 18, 2008 8:18pm]
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