Manatee County Commission says farewells to McClash and Hayes

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 14, 2012 

MANATEE -- Tuesday was a special day for Joe McClash and Donna Hayes, participating in their last meeting before stepping down from the Manatee County Commission.

McClash, 55, capped what he thinks is the longest continous service on the commission with a farewell, saying, "It's been a great run of 22 years."

Hayes, 70, said she had been planning to retire, but won a seat on the commission instead, and served eight years.

"I feel I've done a very good job for east county," the district she represented, she told the board.

During the afternoon, county employees enjoyed a party in the lobby at County Administrative Center, while another event at the county's Crosley Estate took place in the evening.

Among the guests was Kathy King, chair of the Republican Party of Manatee.

"Joe and Donna have been experienced leaders, and the citizens will benefit from their leadership," she said.

Two new commissioners are preparing to take their places on the board: Benderson Development Co. senior planner Betsy Benac and Lakewood Ranch small business owner Vanessa Baugh. Benac defeated McClash during the primary election, and Baugh is replacing Hayes, who did not run for re-election.

Two others, Commission Chairman John Chappie and Commissioner Larry Bustle, were re-elected.

The board Tuesday approved a motion to elect officers during its next meeting on Oct. 27, but specified that its decision would not take effect until Jan. 1.

The swearing-in ceremony is slated for Nov. 20, probably by a notary in the office of County Attorney Mickey Palmer, he said.

The law requires commissioners to be sworn in on the second Tuesday following the general election, but since no commission meeting was scheduled for that day, Palmer said he will supervise an official swearing-in followed by a ceremonial one during the commission meeting the following week.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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