Running With Scissors

Dennis "Mitch" Maley
Just when you may have thought that the Manatee County Commission couldn’t more resemble an eighth-grade classroom, Tuesday’s meeting devolved into an ordeal so sordid you could almost hear fans of the old Jerry Springer Show whooping it up on couches from Holmes Beach to Myakka City.

If you’re reading this, I doubt that you need a recap, but, essentially, recently-elected commissioner George Kruse and veteran commissioner Carol Whitmore had a hastily-convened work session about affordable housing the previous Friday. Such meetings are the only way two elected officials can have a conversation about government business, or even potential business, without running afoul of Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law.

While the meeting passed legal muster, no other commissioners were directly informed that it had been scheduled, although it’s also clear that no earnest effort was made to keep it secret, as it was posted in the lobby of their building and on the county website’s calendar, which was enough for me to have known in advance. As a result of what they perceived as a slight, however, several commissioners were creased over the lack of formal notice. 

There was also a small but loud public outrage that—to be fair—was limited mostly to the right-wing, anti-mask, anti-curfew, pro-confederate monument crowd that is easily stirred whenever it involves the deep state, which is to say any commissioner who wasn’t just elected or any county employee with more than a few years tenure. In a county of over 400,000 people, it was overly partisan and anything but representative.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioners Kevin Van Ostenbridge, James Satcher, and Vanessa Baugh (favorites of that aforementioned voting bloc) voiced their disapproval and ultimately passed a legally-questionable resolution to prevent such meetings in the future (it remains unclear whether a resolution of the board can restrict a duly-elected constitutional officer in such a manner). 

I’ve listened to the meeting, and there was nothing secretive or nefarious about it. In fact, it was one of the more productive work sessions I can recall and, as a public policy wonk, I found it rather interesting. You can listen to it here. I can understand government watchdogs complaining that more could have been done to involve and inform the public and, from an office politics perspective, it was absolutely no surprise to me that three commissioners kicked up sand over it. Was it ill-advised not to preemptively notify other commissioners? Probably. Illegal? No. Unethical? No. 

In actuality, public officials break sunshine regulations all of the time, and unless they do something really stupid like using their own texts or emails to communicate the information, it’s nearly impossible to get caught. Lunch conversations, cocktails, photo op events, and galas all provide easy opportunities for public officials to run things by each other in a parking lot that would get them in a jam, could it only be proven. In that sense, it was refreshing to see commissioners making sure that the t’s were crossed and the i’s were dotted, and that a recording of the meeting was kept for public inspection.

Now, let’s get to the office politics. It’s no secret that Commissioners Vanessa Baugh and Carol Whitmore no longer get along. Once members of the board clique oft referred to as the Mean Girls for their calculated efforts at marginalizing former commissioner and fellow Republican Robin DiSabatino, they’ve since fallen out, a rift exacerbated by this year’s election in which Whitmore supported close friend and former county administrator Ed Hunzeker in the closed Republican primary for retiring Commissioner Betsy Benac’s vacant countywide seat, while Baugh supported Kruse in what played out to be arguably the nastiest county commission race in Manatee history with both sides using developer money to sling mud by the barrel.

Things got much worse when Baugh was finally given the chair position by the new board, and having the gavel has turned her every bit as petty as Whitmore had been to her when the roles were reversed. In that sense, it’s been hard to have sympathy for either commissioner, particularly after watching them terrorize DiSabatino in the exact same way until she finally decided it wasn’t worth it and retired at the end of her second term. The losers in their feud have been the board at large, and the people of Manatee County. In that sense, both would be well served to observe the turmoil their bickering is causing, bury the hatchet, and start behaving like grown-ups when it comes to the business of the board.

Ironically, Whitmore did support Van Ostenbridge, which, despite their current relationship, was no surprise at the time, as he was not only a family friend but was running against former planning commissioner Matt Bower, one of Whitmore’s political rivals. But when Kruse, Van Ostenbridge, and Satcher all won seats, it immediately became clear that they were aligned more closely with Baugh, shifting the entire balance of the board, with Whitmore suddenly in the minority for the very first time since being elected in 2006. 

The new majority, led by Van Ostenbridge, immediately moved to fire county administrator Cheri Coryea in November. Whitmore had been a vocal advocate for Coryea, then deputy county administrator, to ascend to the top spot, citing the excellent works she'd done as Director of Neighborhood Services and the deep ties she'd built within the community. It’s no secret that Carlos Beruff, who’d bankrolled all three new commissioners' victories, hadn’t wanted Coryea hired and a public records investigation later showed that he was closely coordinating with Van Ostenbridge during the runup to the original 4-3 vote to set the clock ticking on the 15-day notice they were required to give her before voting on termination. If you’re unfamiliar with that saga, you can read more here

In the end, Kruse changed his vote and flipped the 4-3 split, joining Whitmore and commissioners Reggie Bellamy and Misty Servia to keep Coryea in place. While Van Ostenbridge and Baugh have remained in lockstep with the development cabal, Kruse has shown greater independence thus far. Satcher, while voting in concert with Van Ostenbridge and Baugh, has at least expressed a sincere interest in working with any commissioner who wants to get things done, especially on projects like sidewalks, street lighting, and other issues that matter most to constituents. Considering that Servia and Bellamy have proven themselves to be independent thinkers who consistently put their districts above such alliances and will work with anyone to get something they believe in passed, it was beginning to seem at least somewhat hopeful that the board would not become the rubber stamp many feared, and that the kind of productive debate and mix and match majorities that are most likely to inform good government might become the norm. That stasis, however, proved to be very short-lived.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Kruse apologized to his fellow board members and said he hadn’t known they had not been made aware of his work session with Whitmore. He also said he couldn’t understand why a representative from the county attorney’s office wasn’t present. As I’ve come to understand it, Whitmore had asked Manatee County Attorney Bill Clague whether a meeting like that could be held and he told her that while they are rare, such a meeting could be scheduled so long as it was properly noticed and recorded. Whitmore then reached out to Coryea to broach the matter with Kruse (an intermediary is needed even at that point to avoid potential violations and the administrator would be the obvious go-between) and informed her that she’d already cleared it with the county attorney’s office. Clague has been clear that he’d only discussed it with Whitmore in the hypothetical, an element neither he nor Whitmore made known to Coryea. Coryea asked Kruse, who immediately agreed to the meeting, and it was set for 8:30 a.m., then moved to 8:00 when Kruse suggested an hour may not be enough and scheduling conflicts prevented additional time from being added to the back end.

When Van Ostenbridge found out about the work session the morning of, he drove to the administration building, presenting the potential for Sunshine violations, as it had been noticed as a meeting only between the two at-large commissioners. That potential was cured at Tuesday's meeting, but Van Ostenbridge, Baugh, and Satcher expressed outrage at the way the meeting transpired. Kruse said he was annoyed that Whitmore, a 14-year veteran of the board, didn’t have the foresight to ensure that more was done to prevent such a fiasco, such as inviting the county attorney’s office or notifying other commissioners. He had an earful for Coryea too, noting that as she’d been the one who’d scheduled the meeting and having 30 years at the county herself, should have foreseen the potential for such strife and made sure both had been done. 

Given the blowback from a contingent of voters that had loudly supported him during his campaign, I can understand how Kruse might have felt his interests weren’t best served. Yes, Kruse isn’t as green as the other new commissioners and could have ensured the others had been notified or a county attorney was present himself, but Whitmore had asked for the meeting and would be the one benefitting from his expertise on the subject, so it seems reasonable that he would have expected her, the most experienced member on the board, to have looked out for his interests better. Coryea, who takes direction from commissioners and has a litany of other responsibilities, did what was asked of her and moved on to the rest of her many responsibilities.

However, Kruse then surprised everyone when, with his wife in the audience, he publicly acknowledged that he’d been having an extramarital affair in the run-up to the November election, that Whitmore had known about it and warned him to be careful about such indiscretions, that she’d obtained photos of himself and the woman together in public that she declined to give him, and that he believed "her intention in obtaining the pictures was to use them to manipulate votes on this board." Click here to watch video of Kruse's statement.

When I spoke to Kruse about it, he vehemently denied that he had accused Whitmore of attempting to "blackmail" him and said that he was more concerned that should the affair become public down the road, people might look back at any vote in which he’d sided with her and wonder whether he'd been compromised. However, his statement did include: "the only blackmail she could hope to achieve would be the public embarrassment that would inevitably trickle down to my 11-year-old daughter and my 14-year-old son. This is how far I believe she would go to maintain power and destroy fellow commissioners if she doesn't get her way." 

So, at the very least, he publicly stated that he very much believed her intent was to blackmail him, and his very next move at the meeting was to angrily call to set the clock back in motion on Coryea’s termination, saying he would leave it up to his fellow commissioners as to whether it would be with or without cause. Commissioners Van Ostenbridge, Baugh, and Satcher quickly gave their support, and now the county administrator is suddenly back on the chopping block her fate to be decided at a special meeting on February 17.

To this, Kruse said that the work session actually had nothing to do with his move to fire Coryea, despite how it looked at Tuesday’s meeting. He said there has been "a cloud" hanging over the 9th floor of the county administration building for months, that he doesn’t think it will lift without major changes and that he hopes a national search will yield a new administrator who doesn’t have relationships with old or new board members. He said he also felt as if the county could use leadership that had previous experience in the kind of transitional growth the county is currently experiencing.

Here’s my take:

Whitmore has been cozying up to Kruse since he flipped on terminating Coryea, probably seeing an opportunity to wrest sway from her current chief rival, Baugh, as well as gain the support she’ll need if she wants to get anything on her agenda passed. Yes, Baugh has been excessively rude to her and has made it nearly impossible for her to dialogue with another commissioner at meetings, particularly one seen as the swing vote. But while she may have had a legitimate reason to ask for such a meeting, there’s little question in my mind that there was at least a little political gamesmanship involved, although Whitmore staunchly denied any such motivation when I spoke with her yesterday. 

"I wanted to have a discussion about affordable housing," Whitmore told me. "Every year we say we’re going to do something about it and nothing gets done. Commissioner Kruse has a lot of experience with it, and I can’t get a question out of my mouth at a regular meeting without Vanessa cutting me off. Could I have handled it better? Yes, I’ve already said that and I apologized to the board. I’ve never participated in that kind of meeting, but there have been other ones while I’ve been a commissioner and we were never informed as a board prior. If I would have known some of the other board members were going to get so upset, I would have made sure they were notified."

There’s also the unavoidable matter of political machinations that are involved. Kruse said Whitmore had been disseminating the information and even reached out to the woman in question multiple times, the implication being that she was attempting to get more information in order to continue to attempt to leverage him. Bower, who’d recently divorced before running last year, said that Whitmore had also reached out to his ex-wife on multiple occasions, the implication being that she’d sought to gain dirt on the opponent of another candidate she was supporting during his race.

Fearing the potential for litigation once the term "blackmail" started flying around, Whitmore referred me to her attorney, Brett McIntosh, for questions related to that aspect of the story.

"At no time did Commissioner Whitmore seek to use the photos she’d been given in an effort to influence another commissioner," McIntosh told me yesterday.

Given that pretty much every one of consequence, including Kruse’s own wife, already knew about an affair Kruse seemingly took little or no effort to keep secret, it doesn’t seem like there would be much if any leverage to be gained by holding it over his head. Whether Whitmore told him as an honest piece of advice in terms of being more careful about his personal life, as she claims, or even perhaps to gain favor by letting him know she knew and didn't go public, only she knows for sure. But as Kruse himself said at Tuesday's meeting, beyond further embarrassing him, no real leverage existed.

Is all of it unseemly? Of course, but it seems a bit rich to attack someone’s reaction to a situation you yourself willingly created. This part is, unfortunately, par for the course in local politics where hundreds of thousands of dollars are routinely spent on county commission races because millions of dollars are at stake in almost every major vote. If a board approves a zoning change that allows for hundreds of extra homes to be added to a development, or for an otherwise undevelopable piece of land to be bought on the cheap before such changes and concessions are granted, they can fatten a builder’s bottom line to such a degree that the money they pour into elections doesn’t amount to a rounding error on what such an investment returns. But as the stakes are continuously raised, so is the rot of our institutions by way of fiascos like this one and the dysfunction they create.

While Whitmore's actions regarding Kruse's personal life certainly contributed to this dynamic, she doesn’t own anywhere near all of the blame and can share much of it with all three of the commissioners who were newly elected in November. Van Ostenbridge ran a dirty campaign based not on competing ideas but rather hyper-partisan rhetoric supplemented by an expensive dark-money, developer-funded PAC that ran unscrupulously misleading attack ads against Bower, also a fellow Republican. Hence, his comment Tuesday regarding Whitmore's support for Hunzeker given the attack ads he ran against Kruse seemed as hollow as a tin whistle even before you consider that Kruse's PAC ads were every bit as negative.

Satcher’s victory in the Republican primary was backed by a similarly distasteful developer-sponsored PAC against the well-respected District 1 incumbent Priscilla Trace, and the race between Kruse and Hunzeker got so ugly and devoid of actual issues that it actually got the attention of the New York Times Magazine. To be honest, the genuine surprise that seems to register among some of them in terms of not being able to ascend to public office in that fashion, lob a hand grenade in attempting to fire the county administrator on day two of their terms, and then comfortably shift into a team that’s working together with no hard feelings seems obtuse, to say the least.

As unattractive as all parties involved look in terms of this scandal, Kruse still has the most to answer for, in my opinion. His account on Tuesday was, "What I did to do my family was inexcusable, but it doesn't affect the county or you, the citizens. However, maliciously trying to alter votes away from the majority interests of this county can never be tolerated." I've yet to see evidence that Whitmore made any efforts to alter votes and, as I noted, when I asked a few days later, Kruse said it was actually a perception issue he was worried about.

And while that small but loud contingent of voters lauded him for bravery and courage, there’s simply nothing brave or courageous about admitting something after you’ve been caught. Again, his wife already knew, as did everyone in the local media and political sphere, mostly because, despite having been in the midst of a high-profile run for public office, he seems to have brazenly flaunted it in public. It’s no surprise that people recognized him as the face from the constant onslaught of flyers that ironically touted his family man status along with his conservative values or noticed that the woman accompanying him didn't have the same color hair as the wife in the ads, even if she too happened to be wearing a wedding ring. 

Yes, everyone makes mistakes and he’s got to live with the pain and suffering he’s caused his family, but I don't agree that it has no effect on you, the citizens, as he put it. For starters, there’s a real question as to the judgment he displayed and what that says in terms of his capacity to be a steward of the public trust. Putting the infidelity aspect aside entirely, there were a lot of people who supported his campaign, donated time and/or money, taking him at his word that he was who he said he was and was going to do everything he could to win the seat and represent their interests for at least the next four years. To begin and carry on an extramarital affair before he’d even been seated as a commissioner means he was willing to throw it all away just to step out for something on the side. And it wasn’t as though he’d had a momentary indiscretion, a moment of weakness when a woman threw herself at him or something of that nature. They were dating … publicly, and although I don't find it necessary to say anything that would further out the other party, I'll just note that there are additional aspects that compound the foolishness of the indiscretion.

That all makes it very difficult to accept that Kruse’s remedy for lifting the cloud includes firing anyone if he himself isn’t going to resign. If he really feels like this board has been rendered permanently stunted and that the county cannot grow under its current leadership, he should fire Coryea, then offer his own resignation. That would be an act that if not quite brave or courageous, would at least demonstrate integrity, something that has been sorely lacking in local government. I made that point to Kruse when we spoke and he answered that voters would ultimately have to decide, but considering that he's less than three months into a four-year term in a county that doesn't have a recall option, that's not exactly a remedy at their disposal.

Absent of his own resignation, moving to fire the administrator the way he did, especially under those circumstances, comes across as petty and vindictive, and I don’t know if all the good work he might do as a commissioner can ever overcome that with most citizens. It’s also worth noting that he alone will not select a new county administrator and regardless of what he’d like to see in one, the fact remains that we live in a county where two private citizens have more power than the other 400,000 combined when it comes to county politics. Those two people didn’t get their way the last time that job opened, but they’ve been working hard to see Coryea gone and you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll make sure they do get their way this time, especially now that they’ve got even more friendly faces looking back at them from the dais. And given that Kruse pretty much owes his election to one of those developers, I think there's a much greater risk in terms of the appearance of his vote being leveraged on that front than by a commissioner who was one person out of many to know about his affair. 

Most of you probably know that I endorsed Kruse and took more than a little bit of heat for it, particularly because he'd taken so much money from Carlos Beruff and run such a low-brow, Trumpian campaign. As such, count me among those who were surprised and disappointed to learn that he'd been so reckless after we'd given him our support, maybe more so given how many people look to our publication for such analysis and use it to inform their own votes. It was even more disappointing, however, to see him take a position that parsed out more blame elsewhere than he seemed willing to carry on his own shoulders. 

However, listening to the work session in question, I was reminded of what I liked about him as a candidate. He brought vision, along with a particularly-useful skillset and effective communication skills that I believed could move the county in a positive direction. With the exception of Commissioner Servia, I don't think there's a commissioner on the board with as much potential and to see him go in this direction because of a mess that—despite how he would have liked others to react to it—remains entirely of his own making, is disappointing, to say the least. That said, I remain sincerely hopeful that he'll demonstrate the integrity to take better ownership of the situation before that February 17 meeting.

This latest scandal is emblematic of just how rotten the state of Manatee County politics has become, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering that six-figure races filled with dark money provided by special interests have become the norm. The developers who fund this chaos aren’t interested in intelligent, well-meaning public servants. They want to elevate empty vessels whom they can fill with the rhetoric and talking points used to stir up the angry mob in order to paper the discussion with a thin veneer of reform that smells suspiciously like business as usual, except with an even more malodorous stench.

If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that this board is utterly dysfunctional in its current state. A new administrator isn't going to fix that for them. In fact, the very last thing it seems to need is to try and agree on hiring a new top executive who oversees some 1,900 employees that provide the services that their actual constituents—all 403,000 plus residents along with the multitude of businesses that comprise the county’s financial engine—rely on each and every day, the vast majority of whom are ardently opposed to such a disruption, especially for the mere sake of satisfying petty political rivalries. The next to last thing it needs is to then try and guide that new direction before they’ve even managed to agree on what it should be or how it might be implemented. 

Kruse was spot on when he said Tuesday that he’s brand new and not as versed in public service as other commissioners and bureaucrats, just like his fellow new members. Accordingly, they should each take the time to learn how all of the levers of power work before they start pulling on them just because some deep-pocketed donors and unhinged supporters egg them on to do so. In the meantime, they should be grateful that because of those who’ve come before them, there are competent professionals who can continue to deliver those vital services as perhaps the least experienced board in county history gets acclimated to a vastly complex job. 

Dennis "Mitch" Maley is an editor and columnist for The Bradenton Times and the host of our weekly podcast. He is also the host of Punk Rock Politix on YouTube. With over two decades of experience as a journalist, he has covered Manatee County government since 2010. He is a graduate of Shippensburg University and later served as a Captain in the U.S. Army. Click here for his bio. Dennis's latest novel, Sacred Hearts, is available here.

Reader Comments
Ballard Smith
FEB 07, 2021  •  What a convoluted rambling of crap, assumptions and gossip. A waste of time to read.
FEB 01, 2021  •  Kruse uses a red herring in order to fall in line with the pro-development, anti-good- government group. Pretty obvious.
Alicia Ann Fretz
FEB 01, 2021  •  New, outraged resident looking for the BOCC to do their job(s) - Is this description meant to categorize the same?...." small but loud public outrage that—to be fair—was limited mostly to the right-wing, anti-mask, anti-curfew, pro-confederate monument crowd that is easily stirred whenever it involves the deep state"... tsk tsk tsk .....
Don Taylor
FEB 01, 2021  •  If you're old enough you might remember a song from the 60's by Jeannie C. Riley, Harper Valley PTA. Well this is just a little Peyton Place, And you're all Harper Valley hypocrites. Substitute the word Bradenton for Harper Valley. Between the school board and the county commissioners what a fiasco.
MaryAnn Jensen
JAN 31, 2021  •  It’s sad to say that the Republican party, which I was a member until 2016, does not care whether a candidate has affairs , lies or causes an insurrection . Just look at #45! I still would like to believe that there are true Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney and these others are not anything more than Trumpsters
Susie Copeland
JAN 31, 2021  •  Thanks Dennis! You wrote so eloquently I've been saying I believe you are spot on in describing what actually happened and why it happened. If one does not honor vow made with spouse, can we believe he/she will honor oath of office taken!
Debbie korell
JAN 31, 2021  •  I don’t see how he can say his personal affair does not affect the citizens. It most certainly does. First, it proves he has no moral compass. Second, he cannot claim he speaks for a majority, as he does not. The majority does not have or support leaders having affairs. If his moral compass is so weak on this point,then where is his moral compass on other issues. Mr. Krause should resign.
M A Clarke
JAN 31, 2021  •  Thank you for your comments, I agree. Don't the Commissioners take an oath of office to represent their constituents not special interests? Extremely disappointed, it's all about themselves!
Rosalie Shaffer
JAN 31, 2021  •  This poor excuse for county government can be laid at the feet of its failure to adopt the charter form of county government. The counties surrounding ours have it, and do you hear of such behavior from them? No. Because their commissioners know that if they mess up badly, they could be removed by a vote of the citizens. This seldom happens in Florida, but the fact that it can makes incumbents work better in the public interest. Our cities all have it, and some years ago one of them did impeach a member of their council. Getting a four year ride with no fear of being removed allows commissioners to perform badly, with no fear from the public they are supposed to be serving. In addition to this issue, there are a lot of other benefits from having a charter, including giving the commission more options in governing and collaboration with cities. Learn more about charter government and how citizens can petition to adopt it at:
JAN 31, 2021  •  Citizens have lost rights in the noise ordinance because Manatee County allowed Code Enforcement to “significantly vet” its own ordinance and increase levels across the board, so they do not have to send staff out on calls. Citizens living along the corridor have lost rights on the “urban corridor” because staff gets to determine what is best for the citizens and what will be built, without citizen input. Citizens have lost rights concerning what is compatible for their neighborhoods because staff gets to determine what is best for them. Citizens can’t even file a complaint against staff because there is not a process. Could we please get back to work on restoring the rights that our citizens have lost over the past 4 years?
Mary Lynn Jahnke
JAN 31, 2021  •  I wish adults were in the room who were focused on serving the needs of Manatee County instead of their interpersonal nonsense. Kruse should resign so that the focus returns to Manatee County and not his drama.
JAN 31, 2021  •  Tomorrow is February 1st have the commissioners accomplished anything except fighting amongst themselves.? Get to work and grow up. Disgraceful.
Glen Gibellina
JAN 31, 2021  •  First there was no mention of Affordable Housing on the agenda. Secondly as vice chair of the Manatee County Affordable Housing advisory board I find it disturbing that Carol would not send out emails to our board for additional professional input. She did not. No staff from the folks would distribute the Sadowski funds and other programs for Affordable Housing were invited that could have provided valuable input as well Additionally electronic doors did not open until after the meeting had already started. You are only as good as the people around you and we were not invited Poorly advertised and poorly ran in my humble opinion
Sheridan Peterson
JAN 31, 2021  •  An alternate theory if you will..... It wasn't Whitmore blackmailing Kruse, it was his rabbi, Little Carlitos Beroof. / Carlitos was mad when Kruse flip-flopped six weeks ago and reversed his decision to fire Coryea. It wasn't until the now famous, and completely legal, 1 on 1 meeting with Kruse and Whitemore was held that Carlitos saw his chance. / Beroof ordered his minions to fire up the fake outrage machine. Since they are so incompetent and their actions would again be as obvious as they were in December, they needed a distraction for the media and the public to focus on. "The Affair" would be that distraction so that no one would notice the bumblings of Baugh, KVO and Satcher. / Satcher doesn't have two brain cells to rub together, he wasn't asked to do too much heavy lifting. / KVO, who reads his questions - and even off the cuff comments - from his iPad, is literally being told what to say, what to ask from the man behind the curtain. / Baugh, the worst actress in this whole production, feigns shock and surprise but Kruse is *brave* for admitting an affair and Coryea needs to be fired for performing her job duties. / Kruse, who should just resign at this point but can't since his vote his needed in the conspiracy, delivered a classic non-apology apology and unironically announced "in the words of Glenn G, this place is a shitshow". He said that into his microphone during a BOCC meeting. As the lead actor in the shitshow, it was the one moment of refreshing, profane honestly. / KVO doesn’t know he can't fire someone with cause when they haven't done anything wrong. His absurd offer to let Coryea keep her severance pay if she resigns, shows just how incompetent he is in this position. When she leaves, and she'll be much better for it, she’ll get her pay out. After that, this board will try to replace her and a whole slew of other county employees. But who would want to come work for an organization that tosses aside a 28 year employee in such an incompetent, petty and ruthless manner? / Two months in and this Fuhrious Four have done incredible damage to the public body they are elected to run. / Congratulations Manatee County voters, you get what you deserve. In the search for the Trumpiest Trumpers, you delivered three of the worst public servants we could possibly find.
Andra Griffin
JAN 31, 2021  •  In this meeting you hear Carol grooming George to be the swing vote. Only about 20 mins of a 1 1/2 hour meeting was designated to Affordable Housing... Other parts you hear Carol listing George's want list, speaking about the "Clear Message" they need to have for COVID, and how he needs to reach out to Marshall because Marshall knows how to "PLAY THE GAME"! This was a grooming session and why SHE DIDN'T WANT attorney's, commissioners or the public in that room. You allege in your article that there doesn't appear to be a violation of Sunshine Law! I disagree, the public is SCREAMING WE WERE LOCKED OUT! That is a 2nd degree misdemeanor. The illusion that Carol's innocent and the victim in this matter is GARBAGE! She has a pattern of behavior which you did touch on in this article and they fact she wouldn't shut up in the 1/26 meeting. I did here her acknowledge certain facts that do have illegal implications. Someone versed in law, can here them clear as day! She deserves to be removed from the board and put in jail. She's a danger to the citizens of this county. Cheri Coryea exposed 3 commissioners to 2nd Degree Misdemeanors... SHE SHOULD BE FIRED WITH CAUSE!
Beth weir
JAN 31, 2021  •  Oh my folks! What an incestuous group. Sure would be great is they would do what they were elected to do. At this point I don’t see that happening.