Majority of Manatee County Commission sides with Hopes, rejects clerk's criticisms
Commissioners Baugh, Kruse, Satcher and Van Ostenbridge vote to give county administrator a new contract, pay raise describe concerns about his management raised by Clerk and Comptroller Colonneseo.
A 4-3 majority of the Manatee County Commission on Tuesday bet there is nothing to the “grave concerns” county Clerk and Comptroller Angelina “Angel” Colonneseo has about county Administrator Scott Hopes and voted to extend his contract, complete with a pay raise.
It was the same majority — made up of Vanessa Baugh, George Kruse, James Satcher and Kevin Van Ostenbridge — that last year ousted Hopes’ predecessor, Cheri Coryea, so the outcome of Tuesday’s debate was likely never in doubt. That was even more so after the same commissioners defeated a motion to suspend Hopes so they could investigate the questions about his management of the county government raised by Colonneso in her letter.
“I am not up here arguing with the clerk," Kruse said, according to YourObserver.com. "I’m not here refuting what she believes within her letter. I'm arguing her letter, is, in and of itself, dictating her view of policy and not allegations that warrant any kind of true investigation.
“I think it is premature to completely disrupt this organization, and this county further, based solely upon an unsubstantiated two-and-a-half-page letter that came in 72 hours ago.”
Voting against extending Hopes’ contract were commissioners Reggie Bellamy, Misty Servia and Carol Whitmore. They had also voted to suspend Hopes.
Hopes will remain in office, complete with a new salary of $215,000 a year, but he will do so without one of deputy administrators, Jan Brewer, who also is the county’s chief financial officer. Brewer on Tuesday submitted her resignation, effective June 8, citing some of the same concerns about Hopes that Colonneso described.
In her resignation letter, Brewer suggested Hopes had maneuvered to keep her from information she needed to do her job. For example, Brewer said she was unaware that the county, as revealed by Colonneseo, had opened a second retirement account for another deputy administrator and that the county had purchased a $46,000 SUV for use by Hopes, despite he also receiving a $450 a month vehicle allowance.
Under his new contract, Hopes will no longer receive the vehicle allowance.
Brewer will depart just as the commission is set to start work on the 2022-23 county budget.
Read more here.
Watch the county commission’s discussion here, starting at the 59:55 mark.