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George Oliver III

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Candidate, District 4 City Commissioner

Public Service

District 4 Commissioner 2018-2023


Revenue Officer, U.S. Department of Treasury


University of Phoenix, BS, Business, 2012, MBA, 2015

Valencia College, AS, Paralegal Studies/Litigation, 2014 

Elected in 2018 as Ocoee’s first Black commissioner and re-elected in 2021, George Oliver III fought hard to get his name on the ballot for the March 19 special election after the election was postponed from June 2023. The former commissioner is attempting to reclaim the District 4 seat he vacated with two years remaining on his term when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor last March. When the city commission disqualified him from running, saying that he could not succeed himself into the seat he vacated, Oliver filed a lawsuit in Orange County’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, which promptly ordered that his name be added to the ballot.

Oliver faces political newcomer Nate Robertson in the special election, which includes 13 charter amendments to be voted on city-wide. The winner will serve until the next election in March 2025. (Pharmacist and pastor Ages Hart has been serving as commissioner since April.)

Vote by mail ballots have already begun arriving in mailboxes. You can request a mail-in ballot up until 5 p.m. March 7. Early voting starts March 4 and will be open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through March 17.

According to Oliver’s campaign website, his “40 Year Plan for the City of Ocoee” includes “partnering with the owners of West Oaks Mall for more retail development”; creating minority-, women- and veteran-owned business opportunities, establishing a tech hub in the city and building a museum “for the preservation of all of Ocoee’s history.”

His platform also champions bringing Ocoee’s sanitation services back under city control, utilizing federal and state funding to pay for it. During last year’s mayor’s forum, Oliver called the move to outsource trash pickup “a travesty.” While he voted for it himself, he said he should have listened to District 2 Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen who was the lone vote against the measure.

Oliver is also campaigning on changing the part-time commissioner jobs to full-time positions, “completely emerged (sic) in operational decisions.” During last year’s forum, he said that as the city grew, it would be necessary to have full-time commissioners who would be paid enough to support their families and that putting 40 hours a week into the job gave a commissioner “skin in the game.”

This idea has no support on the commission where the majority of commissioners view serving as public service, not a job. Though it’s not a stretch to understand why Oliver, who pushed to raise commissioners' salaries in 2021 and has faced myriad financial problems — bankruptcy, home foreclosure, multiple liens — might advocate for an elected position that could pay between $54,000 and $70,000 annually, according to Currently, Ocoee commissioners earn $4,000 annually, serving for a maximum of two four-year terms.

Accountability is another theme of Oliver’s campaign, and he specifically mentions holding local businesses with ordinance restrictions to account. That will surely please the animal lovers who pleaded with the commission not to create a carve-out for the pet store Chews A Puppy after Orange County’s ban on puppy, kitten and bunny sales went into effect. But Oliver’s call for “standards in ethical conduct,” … so that public officials will “NOT misuse their public position for their own or others’ private gain,” may strike some as hollow considering he solicited donations from within the commission chambers during his mayoral campaign. 

Oliver is perhaps best known for his contributions to Ocoee’s official Proclamation recognizing the 1920 Election Day Massacre, which coincided with the 100-Year Remembrance events, and for championing an operational audit. At last year’s candidates’ forum he said he wanted an audit “to see how healthy our city is financially.” 

Oliver also believes the city is misusing Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) funds, intended to rebuild blighted areas, to promote the city’s popular music festival — another reason he’s continued to push for an audit.  In fact, the Florida Statute on CRAs was updated in 2019 and outlines the specific expenses the can be paid with CRA monies — none of which include event promotion or anything outside of the CRA area. 

A father of six sons and grandfather to a teenage granddaughter, Oliver was born in Florida, raised in Atlanta and has lived in Ocoee for 20 years. He founded the now-inactive GPS-Sports Inc. He and his wife, Deborah were also partners in a short-lived trucking company in 2007 called AD&G Trucking and another firm called Compliance Logic that was in business for two years and folded in September. He has worked as a substitute teacher with Kelly Education and serves on the board of the nonprofit TRELS Home for Children in Houston.

Oliver states on his site that now he now works for the U.S. Treasury Department. We requested a photo of his ID badge and received a jpg of the revenue officer ID that showed his photo with the last name and signature obscured. He said the Treasury Department had done “an extensive investigation of my past employment. Therefore I will not provide any additional employment information.” That would cover our request for proof of employment with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Deloitte and Touche as we could not independently verify it.

His site also states that he served as a certified mediator for the Florida Supreme Court. Documents from the Florida Supreme Court indicate that he is not a certified mediator. He started mediator training but did not complete it.


This brief interview took place Jan. 15, just before the start of Ocoee’s Martin Luther King Day parade, and has been edited for length and clarity.

VoxPopuli: Let’s talk about why you are running.

George Oliver III: It's very personal for me. It's very personal because we have kids, Generation Z, Generation Alpha, right here, right now, among us, that in the next 10, 15 years are going to be looking at being leaders in our city.

They're going to be the up and coming mayors, up and coming commissioners. And I think that we owe it to them to establish a foundation. I always get the same question all the time: Why does Winter Garden look like they look and why does Ocoee look like we look? Back in 1991 Winter Garden decided to put together strategic goals and strategic planning. They established a foundation. A lot of us are enjoying the fruits of their labor. When you look at Winter Garden and Ocoee, the downtowns are like night and day. So we have to establish a foundation for our children in this city, and the foundation starts with strategic goals, strategic planning, strategic drivers. That's the foundation that we build a mission and a vision on top of all that.

This is something we've never had as a city. We've never had a mission, we've never had a vision. When it comes to construction or development in our city, it has been a knee jerk reaction. have a patch of land over here. I have a developer over here. Let's put them together and let's build something. Our population growth in the city and our development has been reactionary and not strategically planned. And that's what makes this personal for me.

VoxPopuli: What are the particular issues for District 4 that you want to address?

George Oliver III: Two of them are already being addressed right now. The light that we fought so hard for Clarcona-Ocoee and Ingham Road. That is actually coming to fruition very soon. That was one of my top priorities because we had so many accidents there. It goes back to our kids. We have so many kids going to high school, coming around that corner early in the mornings. And we got to think about their safety, and we got to think about their future. That light right there is symbolic of the city moving forward and taking into account of the citizens and the safety of our citizens.

VoxPopuli: How many years did it take to get that light?

Oliver: Five years. It started with me meeting with the Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, and his traffic team. They did a traffic study within six months, came back and said, yeah, it deserves to have a light there. That's when we started discussing between the city and the county how we're going to pay for the light and how can we implement getting a light installed.

The second one is a Clark Road. The first objective was to get Clark Road pushed all the way through. The next thing was to widen it. Once we got the permitting from St. John's Water Management District to widen the road, you see the fruits of that as they're widening the road now.

The next thing we need to start looking at in District 4 is looking at what we have left to build out. What are we going to do with the wildlife, the ecosystem? How do we balance that? So we're still growing, but we need to start maintaining some balance in District 4 because we have wildlife entering in residential neighborhoods because we're just building without a plan.

It goes right back to strategic goals, strategic plans. How do you place the wildlife when you're starting to grow in the area that you know there's a vast ecosystem there, where you have gators, you have black panthers, black bears, raccoons. So you have the wildlife there and they're being disturbed, but they have nowhere to go.

Without a plan, you just going, There's a patch of dirt, here’s a developer, let’s build.

When you have a foundation, it forces the city to bring in developers that are going to abide by that foundation when it comes to developing projects —condominiums, single family homes, residential areas as well as retail space. It always comes back to that foundation.

VoxPopuli: In your press conference you said there was a “conspiracy to disenfranchise thousands of citizens.” Do you believe that the city commission conspired to keep you out of office?

Oliver: I’m not going to say a “conspiracy.” All I'm just gonna say is folks should actually watch what happened. Read what happened. It's been publicized and they should draw their own conclusions.

[Ed. Note: Oliver has repeated the “conspiracy” accusation in Facebook posts.]

VoxPopuli: Why did you leave before your term was out?

Oliver: I resigned my seat to run because I felt that I could serve the city better at a higher level, serve the city better in a different capacity.

— Norine Dworkin
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