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Sierra Club Florida
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Executive Committee Home
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Position Taking and Representing Sierra Club
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Sierra Club Florida

Sierra Leaders

Sierra Club Florida Leaders

Election Results Announced

The 2013 SC Florida Election Committee has completed its work and the Group Chairs have elected the following members to the 2014 Chapter Executive Committee (ExCom). They are Kent Bailey (Tampa Bay), Bud Long (Turtle Coast), and Debbie Matthews (Miami).

Questions about the election process or the petition process should be sent to the Chapter Election Committee: Linda Bremer (, Rudy Scheffer (, or John Swingle (

The Chapter Executive Committee

The month to month work of the Chapter is handled by an Executive Committee of 7 members, who are elected for two-year terms in the fall. The 2014 members are: Deborah Longman-Marien (Turtle Coast), Mark Walters (Miami), Tom Larson (Northeast), Rudy Scheffer (Suncoast), Debbie Matthews (Miami), Bud Long (Turtle Coast) and Kent Bailey (Tampa Bay). Debbie Matthews is the Chapter Chair. To read their bios, scroll to the bottom of this page. For more information on the structure of the Chapter, see the bylaws below.

Volunteers Wanted

The Chapter has a lot of work to do and needs your help. We need new members for the Political Committee, new local contacts for the lobbying committee, volunteers to help with conservation issues, and volunteers for the chapter nominating committee to find candidates to run in the fall election. To find out more, email Be sure to tell her you want to work for the chapter and what skills you have to offer.

New Florida Chapter Bylaws.

The Sierra Club Board of Directors has agreed to a new set of bylaws for the Florida Chapter. The structure of the Chapter has changed and is now more like the Sierra Club Council of Club Leaders (CCL). There will be a small executive committee elected by a Council of Group Chairs, and a greater role for Group Chairs in the management of the Chapter. You can read the new bylaws here.

Elections for the next Executive Committee

The bylaws call for elections to be held in the fall of each year. Group Chairs (or Vice-Chairs) of record as of July 1 are eligible to vote, along with sitting members of the excom. Voting will take place in person at the fall meeting and results announced at the meeting. Members are encouraged to review the nominees when announced and to discuss the elections with their Group ExCom. Nominating committee members are picked half by Group Chairs and half by the current excom. Nominations open each year on May 15 and close each year on July 15.

Who should run for the next chapter executive committee?

The seven member excom has a conference call every month, and four face-to-face meetings a year. They work a lot over email, including reviewing proposals and then email voting. To be on excom, you should have a good grasp of the processes of the Sierra Club and time each month to work on club activities. Good candidates are group leaders who have been Group Chair or on a Group Excom, and who have good skills in working on a team. If you are interested in running for the next ExCom, please email the chair of the nominating committee between May 15 and July 15.

Current Chapter Committees

A list of committees and members can be found at SC Florida Committees

Sierra Club Florida Meetings

Group Chairs, Vice-Chairs and Group Leaders are invited to attend the face-to-face meetings of the Chapter ExCom and take part in the discussions. Each of these meetings has a specific agenda and goals pertaining to the work of the club at the time. First meeting, Spring, is for leadership training and conservation work planning for the year. The early summer meeting is for committee training and campaign planning. The fall meeting is elections, lobbying planning and organizational planning. The winter meeting's goal is optionally set by the Group Chairs and the ExCom. See the calendar page for dates.

Sierra Club Florida Conservation Priorities:

Sierra Club Florida has changed how we set our conservation priorities. This was announced at the October 1 meeting of group chairs in St. Petersburg.

The new model separates annual planning into three categories: organizational, legislative and conservation. Organizational goals are reviewed with the Group Chairs at the Fall meeting and announced in January. Legislative lobbying priorities are reviewed and suggestions made at the Fall meeting. The lobbying team will publish those priorities after their planning session.

The Conservation Priorities will be set by our leaders and activists themselves. It is up to you. If you have an issue of statewide importance and can organize people, set a goal, and work to achieve it, the executive committee wants to help. They have created an outline or form to get you started, and have leaders ready to talk you through the process.

The point is to set a team up for success on a Chapter Conservation Campaign. By answering the questions in the outline, a team will have the information needed to develop a clear charge and strategy for accomplishing its goals. The Executive Committee will help the teams with training, identifying resources and advertising for volunteers. You can access the form here Set a Chapter Conservation Priority.

Group Advisory Council

The bylaws call for a Group Advisory Council to be formed to assist Groups in staying healthy and active and to advise the ExCom on Group matters. This council is looking for more members from across the state. More info on this new committee and its work can be found on their webpage.


The Executive Committee has prepared the following information on key procedures of the Sierra Club in Florida:

In addition, information on the following volunteer committees activities can be found on their web pages:

2014 Executive Committee Members

Chapter Chair. Debbie Matthews is starting her second term on the ExCom and her second year as Chapter Chair. She was the Miami Group Chair in 2007. She served on the SC Florida Group Advisory Council, which she helped to establish, and she has gotten to know group leaders through her Advisory Council conference calls. In 2011 she received the Palm Leaf award for Administrative Leadership to the Florida Chapter, and has served as a national chapter trainer in the Sierra Club Leadership training program. Debbie is a world traveler, but now enjoys hiking the natural areas of Florida.

Bud Long has been a Sierra Club member since 2003. In 2002 he ran for local office in Brevard County, and received the Sierra endorsement in that race for his stand on environmental issues. Following that he served on the political committee of the Turtle Coast Group and then as Political Chair. He has since been the Group Vice-Chair and the Group Chair. He has been a valuable member of the Chapter Political Committee and recently volunteered to be the Chapter Political Compliance Officer. Bud is a Florida native who grew up camping and canoeing and enjoying the great Florida outdoors experience.

Rudy E. Scheffer has been an active member of Sierra Club since 1988. He is a leader in the Suncoast Group, Sierra Florida Outing Chair and a National Outdoor Activities Volunteer. In the past, Rudy served as: Chair of the National Group and Chapter Outings Committee; member of the National Outdoor Activity Governance Committee; and Chair of the National Outdoor Activity Training Committee. On the Group level, Rudy has served as Outing Leader, Outing Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer. Rudy has a great love for the outdoors, the preservation of wilderness and for wildlife protection world wide. He hopes that Sierra Florida can work to build coalitions with like-minded organizations to elect "Green" candidates, and help to educate the public and political leaders about the importance of environmental issues.

A member of the Sierra Club since 1994, in 2000 Tom Larson became active with the Northeast Florida Group and got involved in a member’s SC-endorsed campaign for state senate. After a few years, he volunteered and was elected to the Group’s Executive Committee, and in early 2004 was tapped to be the Group Chair. Tom has advised the Florida Energy Commission and has been on the Sierra Club Florida Energy Committee, as well as the Florida Steering Committee. He has served on the Chapter ExCom and as Treasurer for Sierra Club Florida for many years and continues to do so in 2014.

Kent Bailey came to Florida in 1968 when his parents took over operation of a fishing resort on Lake Okeechobee. His life there gave him a deep respect for the ecology of Florida. He joined Sierra in 2001 and began volunteering for the Tampa Bay Group. He was recognized by the Group in 2009 for his work on the Cone Ranch. He worked as co-chair of their Growth Management Committee in 2011 where he organized campaigns. In 2012 he was elected to the Tampa Bay Group ExCom and later awarded their Black Bear Award for his work.

Mark Walters is a volunteer and an active leader with the Inner City Outings program in Miami and has served as ICO Group Chair in the past. Until June 2012, he co-chaired the ICO National Steering Committee, establishing policy and providing guidance and support for the ICO program, and its groups and volunteers across the country. Mark also serves as the Outings Chair for the Miami Group, and is a member of the Sierra National Outdoor Leadership Team and the Activity Program Safety Team. Mark is a member of the Sierra Diversity Steering Committee and former co-chair for the Diversity Council for national, and he has served twice as chair of the Sierra Board of Directors Nominating Committee, most recently in 2014. He is a recipient of the Madelyn Pyeatt award in recognition of his work with youth. Mark works at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine managing a research lab. He has two daughters who manage him.

Deborah Longman-Marien comes from the Turtle Coast Group where she is an excom member and an outings leader. She is an avid birder, has worked as an Aviary Aide at the Brevard Zoo and President of the Space Coast Audubon Society. She also has experience managing educational programs and once worked as Assistant Coordinator of the Royal Ontario Museum.
To ask questions about the executive committee process, please send an email to


Core Chapter Functions

I. Advance the Club’s Mission

II. Provide Service to Members, Supporters and the Public

III. Build Local Resources

IV. Exercise Effective Governance and Fiduciary Oversight

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