FLORIDA WEST COAST
E. Eugene Webb PhD
In 2006/2007 then Manatee County administrator Ed Hunsicker made the decision to stop infrastructure development in light of the economic slowdown. When then County Administrator Hunsicker lost his glitter with the developers, he was sort of moved out of the way and a search for a new County administrator was begun.
Without going into a lot of sordid details, the Manatee County Commission then committed one of the grossest acts of political inbreeding seen on the West Coast of Florida in quite some time.
Following a nation-wide search, the Manatee County Commission tossed out all the recommended candidates and picked Assistant County Administrator Cheri Coryea as the new County Administrator.
Coryea did not meet the job requirements when she was hired, had no experience in actually running a large multidisciplinary organization, had limited people skills, is a responsibility avoider and her only objective has been to ingratiate herself to the seven people who control her fate, the County Commission.
The existing County Commissioners see Coryea as a kind and caring administrator, who wants to make everyone happy. They should interview a few County employees down a couple of levels to see what is really going on.
When Manatee County was a sleepy little place with a few developers building a few houses here and there, the type of County government currently in place was more than sufficient to deal with the issues.
However, things have changed. A county developing as rapidly and aggressively as Manatee County is more like the wild west than a love fest. You rarely see descriptors like “much adored” attached to County Administrators in rapidly growing Counties.
For some background check out The Bradenton Times by Dennis Maley, Sunday, Nov 22, 2020, Yes, Special Interests are Gunning for the County Administrator. And also by Dennis Maley, Bradenton Times, County Land Deal Gets Machiavellian in Runup to Election.
The ensuing cat fight at the recent County Commission meeting is a clear example of why it is time for some changes.
The existing commissioners can argue and accuse the voters all they want, but the fact is the political winds are changing in Manatee County, and it is about time.
The new elected commissioners Baugh, Satcher, Van Ostenbridge, and Kruse need to be respectful of the Commission’s history and personality, but the only way they can be effective is to shift the structure and the culture of the County administration as it relates to the Commission. That requires a change in leadership.
There is no sense in dragging this out through a series of histrionics and tear-filled meetings.
It is time to go forward and find a seasoned county administrator. Not some developers hack, or another existing employee but one who is experienced and capable of dealing with a poorly prepared, rapidly developing county.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
Please comment below.