Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
One of the most certain ways to tell if a governmental unit such as a city, a county or a major state department is corrupt is to look at the way they handle disciplining their own board members.
Just in case you have not been following the latest Manatee County Commission debacle regarding the distribution of the Corona vaccine, here are some links to bring you up to date.
WFLA 8 On Your Side Staff, by: Chip Osowski: Manatee sheriff investigating whether Commissioner Vanessa Baugh broke state law with vaccine event
Tampa Bay Times by Ryan Callihan: DeSantis threatens to divert vaccines from Manatee after backlash on access
The public in Manatee County is incensed over Commissioner Baugh's actions and even Charlie Crist, who is really difficult to rile up, and I know Charlie well, was in his words horrified at what went wrong in the DeSantis ordered Lakewood Ranch pop-up vaccine site.
There's just no excuse for what Commissioner Baugh did. She violated the law; she violated the public trust; she insulted everybody who lives in Manatee County, and made the whole vaccine registration program look like a farce.
Then, when her fellow commissioners had the opportunity to boot her out of her position as chair and probably off the County Commission, what do they do? They vote four to three to keep her right there.
What should that tell you? What else is going on behind the scenes at the Manatee County Commission? Who else is wielding influence over the commissioners? Who has what on whom?
Somebody's got something on someone, or they would have voted to throw her out and make themselves look like heroes. It seems to me maybe they are more afraid of retribution from the chair after she's out than worried about her illegal activities while she's in the Commission chair seat.
If her fellow commissioners are worried about her future, I would offer they needn't be. I'm sure she has a great future out in Lakewood Ranch at SMR.
Check out this link FOX 13 By Kimberly Kuizon and Haley Hinds: Baugh to remain Manatee County Commission chairperson, but deputies now investigating vaccine site
I was most disappointed in commissioner at large George Kruse's vote to keep Baugh on the County Commission and especially keep her on as chair. It just didn't make any sense.
Asking the Manatee County Sheriff to investigate this issue is akin to putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Not likely to be very objective.
Representative Christ’s call for the Department of Justice to investigate this whole mess is a good one simply because there certainly isn't anyone in the DeSantis administration who would give a complete and fair assessment to the illegal actions of this public servant.
The Manatee County Commission continues to struggle with extricating itself from the politics of the 60s and meeting the needs and the responsibilities of governing in a modern society.
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