Headline Surfer Hall of Fame: Seminole Tax Collector Joel Greenberg comes of age

Headline Surfer  video / Joel Greenberg, Seminole County's tax collector, is shown in this family-style outdoor portrait, with his wife, Abby, and their two children, Madison, 2, and Micah, 7 months. All four are featured in the multi-media video presentation.
 
Joel Greenberg / Headline SurferHENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

SANFORD, Fla -- Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg turns to a biblical verse in dealing with the myriad responsibilities of public life and balancing it with taking care of his young, growing family.

It comes from Phillipians 4:13: "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."

Such is the private and less publicized side of one of East Central Florida's most progressive and brightest elected politicians - still a relative newcomer as a public figure -- just over three years into his first term as the tax collector for Seminole County.

Greenberg has kept his political promises to the voters who carried him into office over an entrenched incumbent who was out of touch with technology and service above self interests as Greenberg exposed in a no-holds barred campaign.

And while Greenberg has energized the office and significantly improved technology as well as service to his constituents, that's only half the equation as to why Greenberg is a certifiable winner with a bright future.

It's his attention to family that is so truly phenomenal. He loves his family. Still only 34 years old, Greenberg is a decade or more younger than many of his contemporaries in countywide offices throughout the Sunshine State.

Here is an example of Greenberg's sentiment with an accompanying pic on Facebook of him holding the oldest of his two children, 2-year-old Madison.

"This is what it’s all about," Greenberg also father to Micah, 7 months, and married to their mother, Abby, wrote a couple of days ago on his Facebook page of fatherhood and family. "Took me 34 years to realize it." 

You might say Greenberg has come of age. And that self expression along with outstanding public service as an elected constitutional officer (Seminole County Tax Collector) are the main reasons why Joel Micah Greenberg is officially an entrant of the Class of 2019 Headline Surfer Hall of Fame.

Joel Greenberg / Headline Surfer"This is what it’s all about," Greenberg father to Madison and Micah, and married to their mother, Abigail, wrote a couple of days ago, on his Facebook page of fatherhood and family. "Took me 34 years to realize it." 

You might say Greenberg has come of age. And that self expression along with outstanding public service as an elected constitutional officer (Seminole County Tax Collector) are the main reasons why Joel Micah Greenberg is officially an entrant of the Class of 2019 Headline Surfer Hall of Fame.

So how did he get to this chapter in his young life?

Well, then 31-year-old GOP candidate Greenberg, a one-time sports talk radio holds in Orlando, challenged longtime Tax Collector Ray Valdes for his job after the disgust he felt when he visited the office's website and found it too cumbersome to use. He also discovered it lacked the technology to enable access for smart phone users.

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel early on in the campaign, Greenberg, former owner of an Orlando advertising company that specialized in outdoor, radio and digital ads explained, "Other counties have more updated websites…There's no reason that we can't turn Seminole County's into a technology leader."

Greenberg told the Sentinel another motivating factor in his decision to run was discovering that Valdes had for years successfully bid on numerous delinquent properties put up for public auction after owners failed to pay taxes on them.

Even more disturbing to Greenberg was the fact that Valdes' family members had made thousands of dollars in interest by picking up the tab on tax delinquent properties through tax certificates handled directly by the incumbent tax collector's office.

Greenberg pledged that if elected elected, he would forbid himself, any of his family or employees of the Tax Collector's Office from doing what had been a Valdes staple.

"There will be a strong ethical code," Greenberg insisted, adding, "I do not want employees — any employees — participating in any government sales. Other counties have those policies."

Valdes, a Republican first elected in 1988 and seeking his eighth term, dismissed Greenberg and his proposals as "pretty stupid." But the GOP upstart Greenberg got the last laugh on the career politician. 

Greenberg easily defeated Valdes in the August 2016 Seminole County primary, garnering 18,116 votes of 52.41 percent of the total to 16,451 votes or 47.59 percent. Because there was no Democrat or independent candidate in the race, voting was open to all Seminole County voters.

Since taking office as tax collector, Greenberg has directed the office to begin using new technologies to improve customer service, adding new services to increase customer convenience, and to streamline the Office’s budget, which will increase the amount of hard earned dollars back to taxpayers.

Greenberg’s top priority is to serve Seminole County taxpayers and customers. He continues to focus on providing faster, more efficient customer service by embracing new technology to improve customer interactions and access with the satelite offices as well.

Hall of Fame: 
Hall of fame
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.