A former Manatee County Commissioner has asked four commissioners — including the three who voted against conducting a national search for a new county administrator — to reverse their action.
“Commission, please reverse your previous action to begin a national search for a county administrator,” John Chappie said in an email sent Monday afternoon. “Negotiate another year or two on Ed Hunzeker’s contract and then move forward in a positive, professional, methodical manner with the selection of Ed’s replacement.”
Chappie’s email was sent to commissioners Betsy Benac, Priscilla Whisenant Trace and Carol Whitmore, who all voted against a national search, as well as Commissioner Steve Jonsson, who was one of the four voting in favor of the search. Commissioners Vanessa Baugh, Charles Smith and Robin DiSabatino were the other commissioners to support the national search.
Hunzeker and County Attorney Mickey Palmer were copied on the email.
Baugh, who initiated the conversation in December, placed the item — “Request for Proposal for a Firm to Begin a National Search for a County Administrator” — on Tuesday’s agenda. The discussion will take place at 2 p.m. in the first floor commission chambers in the Manatee County Administration Building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
“By putting this item on the agenda, she has created an opportunity to reverse this ill-fated action,” Chappie said in the email. “Time is of the essence. This decision by commission is one of leadership, not anger and not clashes of personalities. Manatee County is in great shape in many areas that make our community an exceptional place to live, work and play. A great deal of credit must be given to Ed Hunzeker and the leadership team that he has established over the years.”
Last December, commissioners voted to not renew Hunzeker’s contract, which expires Jan. 29, 2018.
“There is never a great time to change leadership, but change is inevitable, it will happen,” Chappie said in the email. “Ed is ready to retire, we all know this, but it is my understanding he would stay for at least a year or two more. As leaders of our community I would hope that you first ask yourself, when is the best time for a change in leadership and what is in the best interest of Manatee County and our residents?”