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Beth A. Houghton

CLEARWATER — The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County voted unanimously July 11 to appoint Beth A. Houghton as the new chief executive officer and accept the terms of a two-year employment contract.

The action came during the board’s regular meeting at which time the CEO Search Committee presented its recommendation after conclusion of a nationwide search that began in February. Houghton’s anticipated start date is Sept. 16, pending formal contract execution.

Houghton has served as CEO of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic for eight years. The clinic’s programs distribute food to more than 55,000 people monthly, provide over 9,000 with free health and wellness services annually, and help another 400 on their path to independent living through shelter services.

Houghton has taken numerous mission trips to rural Honduras and currently serves as treasurer for the Foundation for International Missions, which supports a rural medical clinic. She serves as chair of the Hospital Board of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research and vice chair of its Institute (Parent) Board.

Houghton is a graduate of Stetson University College of Law. She graduated from Tulane University Graduate School of Business earning an MBA, and received her BA from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She is licensed to practice both law and public accounting in Florida and has been an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida and Stetson University College of Law.

Her previous employment includes serving as chief financial officer and general counsel of John’s Hopkins All Children’s Health System.

In her role as CEO, Houghton will oversee an annual budget of $94.3 million and workforce of 62. She will be expected to make sure policies set forth by the JWB Board of Directors are effectively implemented, funds are responsibly invested in programs with proven results, and innovative partnerships are created that benefit tens of thousands of Pinellas County children and families annually.

She will serve as the nexus between the JWB Board and day-to-day operations at JWB, as well as coordinating and partnering with public entities, major funders of services, service providers, and community leaders.

Established by a Special Act of the Florida Legislature in 1945 and approved overwhelmingly by Pinellas County voters in 1946, JWB is an independent special taxing district that is governed by an 11-member board, which invests property tax dollars to give children the best opportunities to lead healthy, successful, and satisfying lives.

Houghton will replace Marcie Biddleman, who announced her plans to retire earlier this year after a 10-year tenure with the organization. A public farewell gathering in Biddleman’s honor is being planned for September.