TAMPA, Fla. – Two Hillsborough County judges have been selected leaders in the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council of Boy Scouts of America.
Judge Thomas Palermo will serve as the Chairman and Judge Michael Bagge-Hernandez will be the Vice Chairman of the Fort Brooke District, one of nine districts in the council. The district encompasses the western half and northern half of Hillsborough County.
Palermo, appointed as a judge in 2019, lives in South Tampa and grew up in the Carrollwood area. The former American University Student Body President and Jesuit High School alumnus earned his law degree in 2001 from Florida State University College of Law.
He is married to Brittany Palermo. They have one son, a Webelo Scout in St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Cub Scout Pack 23, where Palermo is an assistant cubmaster and den leader.
Palermo’s son’s love for Scouting was one reason he became the district chairman.
“We’ve done every camping trip and many adventures. Like every father, when your child is interested in something good, you do all you can to encourage it,” he said. “Second, I believe in the best of Scouting, the values, the independence. It matters to me that other kids have the same opportunity my son has had to be a Scout.”
In his role as chairman of the district, which has more than 90 Scouting units and serves more than 2,500 youth, he hopes to recruit and rebuild units as participation has been affected by the COVID-19 virus.
Bagge-Hernandez became a judge January 2020, after working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Puerto Rico and in the Middle District of Florida.
A former Cub Scout at St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School, the Jesuit High School alumnus graduated from Stetson College of Law in 2007. A north Hillsborough County resident, he is married and has two young children, who he wants to enroll in Scouts when older.
He said: “Growing up, I saw the Scouts as an opportunity to meet new friends and develop the friendships that I already had. It was not until I was older that I realized that the Scouts not only gave me an opportunity to develop new and existing relationships.”
He said that as an adult, he realized Scouts’ “important life lessons” had dramatically affected his life.
“I accepted the position as vice chair in hopes to give back to the organization that did so much for me,” he said
His goal, he said, is to support the organization in rebuilding from a difficult year.
“I want to make sure that children and parents can continue to call the Scouts a safe place where children can develop life skills for their future,” he said.