By Laura J. Cummings
The Village of Estero has its first woman mayor! Katy Errington is a founding member of the Village Council, elected as the only woman to Estero’s seven-member governing body in March 2015.
“Those of us who were on the inaugural council had to begin from scratch the development of a government,” she said. “The greatest challenge the Village has faced since its incorporation is to continue to be ‘government-lite.’”
Six years later — as the council welcomes its second woman member — Errington has become Estero’s most prominent leader, tasked with running bimonthly Village Council meetings.
A resident of Breckenridge (in District 4), Errington has been active in the Estero community long before Estero’s incorporation. She is an elder in Hope United Church and a longtime member of the Estero Rotary Club. She’s been a Rotarian for 25-years, serving as district governor for Southwest Ohio before moving to Estero in the mid-2000s.
Errington is a former business teacher, marketing coordinator and adjunct professor who enjoys interacting with local students and business leaders. She lives by the motto “service above self” and encourages other Estero citizens to share their knowledge and life skills to help the Village flourish.
1. On Village Council, your areas of strategic concern include water quality and conservation. Why are you passionate about these issues?
When I ran for office in 2015, I focused on the Estero River. It is essential that all of us who live in Southwest Florida do all we can to protect the quality and quantity of our drinking water, protect wildlife habitat and encourage more greenspace. One of the greater successes for the Village has been acquiring 67 acres on the Estero River off Corkscrew Road and U.S. 41.
2. What improvements do you see coming in the next five years for Estero?
There is potential for significant growth and providing the infrastructure and human services needed. One example is septic to sewer. After the completion of a 12-month study by FGCU of the Estero River, the tedious task begins to provide the ways and means to make the water cleaner flowing down the river and to make it more navigable for kayaks, canoes and boats. The development of a park on the Estero River property will include walking and hiking trails and provide greater accessibility to the Estero River.
3. How does it feel to be Estero’s first woman mayor and to be joined by another woman on Council (Joanne Ribble)?
Having another woman on Council is good and very much welcomed. Many issues with which we are faced, require various opinions from members who come from different backgrounds and bring a plethora of experience to the table. Put all these together and they form a very dynamic Village of Estero Council. Change is constant and inevitable. The three new members know that in two years, because of term limits, they, too, will have to be ready to welcome four new members to the Council.
4. Who is your biggest role model?
My heavenly role model is Jesus Christ. My earthly role model is my husband, Garth. I could not be mayor without Garth’s encouragement and support. As a former school superintendent and college professor, he has been an inspiration. One of many recognitions he has received was the Outstanding Service Award by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. He has been given a tremendous gift of giving eloquent and heartfelt speeches. He is a blessing to many, including me!
5. Why is community service so important to you?
Because it teaches us to reach outside ourselves. We are forced to recognize that there are a lot of physical, spiritual and emotional needs all around us. If we don’t reach out: Who Will?
6. As a master gardener, you obviously have a green thumb…what have you been planting lately?
My emphasis has changed from planting in dirt to nurturing love for this growing, young city that we call the Village of Estero. I am committed to helping grow the quality of life that encompasses the people, the gated communities within the community, the environment, the schools, the avenues of transportation, protection of water and environment, and services that provide us appropriate health and healthcare.
7. How might others describe you as a leader?
My goal is to lead with integrity, honesty and kindness, and to display a willingness to listen and always try to do what is right.