Friday, May 14, 2021

Scott Hopes as The New Manatee County Commissioner – Seriously?


Florida West Coast 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

Once again, the Manatee County Commission has shown its gross negligence in managing a County government.

Tuesday May 11th, 2021, in a surprise vote, the Manatee County Commission authorized board chair Vanessa Baugh, who is currently under investigation for an ethics violation, to negotiate a resolution and an agreement appointing Dr. Scott Hopes as the permanent County administrator.

I fully believe that Dr. Hopes is a competent administrator and his dedication to public service, including the Manatee County school board indicates his interest and commitment to the community.

However, he hardly has the credentials to manage a rapidly growing Florida County, or a county in any state. And absolutely no experience in dealing with the complex technical issues, governmental policy issues and the influence and control of large, powerful, wealthy, developers.

For some Background check out: The Bradenton Times Staff Report Article: County Commission Moves to Make Hopes Permanent Administrator.

The Manatee County Commission had previously committed to the public that they would perform a nationwide search, evaluate those candidates, and select a competent and qualified County administrator. Of course, they have made that promise before and did not follow through, and we saw how that worked out with Cheri Coryea.

 I'm not sure what the motivation is in this case. Maybe there are those on the County Commission who just don't want a professional County administrator who might get in the way of what their developer/supporters want done in Manatee County.

 Here is a quote from the Bradenton Times article, commission member George Kruse said, “That while he supported Hopes and agreed with the board's assessment of his performance thus far, it had only been a matter of weeks since Hopes had been put in the role, and that he could see "absolutely no advantage" in moving hastily while also breaking a commitment to the public.”

Given the high probability that the Manatee County administrator’s position is a career-ending job opportunity, based on the results of the last several people who have held the position, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Hopes is really interested in the job. The Manatee County school board is a much safer political position.

Somebody out in eastern Manatee County, is probably pulling the strings on this one and Dr. Hopes needs to be extremely careful that he does not become the next political pawn in the gold rush to develop Manatee County.

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