Mr. Harness was born and raised in Chicago, IllInois. After graduating high school, he attended college at the University of Cincinnati where he double majored in Biology and Political Science. He also completed his Master’s in Public Affairs at the University of Cincinnati. He started his career in the Public Sector in Miami, Florida, participating in the Metropolitan Dade County Intern Management Program. Since that time, Mr. Harness has worked for various city and county governments in management and executive management positions throughout Ohio and Florida.
Mr. Harness has now served local governments for over 37 years. He is an active member of International City and County Management Association (ICMA) since 1999 and has been an ICMA Credentialed Manager since 2002. Mr. Harness served on the ICMA Executive Board as one of the Southeastern Vice Presidents from 2015-2019 and he is currently the ICMA representative serving on the VantageTrust Company, LLC. Board of Directors (a subsidiary of ICMA-RC Investment Corporation). Mr. Harness continues to be an active member in his state association, the Florida City/County Management Association (FCCMA). He served on the FCCMA Board of Directors from 2005-2011 and served as the President of FCCMA from 2009-2010. Mr. Harness has been involved with the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) since 1984.
For the past seven years, Mr. Harness has served as the Chief Human Services Administrator for Hillsborough County, Florida. As the Chief Human Services Administrator, Mr. Harness is responsible for the County’s Human Services operations which includes the following departments: Head Start/Early Head Start; Health Care Services; Aging Services; Homeless Services; Social Services; Children’s Services; and Sunshine Line Special Needs Transportation Agency. The Human Services Team encompasses 790 full-time employees providing $358.042M of services to the citizens of Hillsborough County.