Elections have consequences and for some, those consequences have been hard to come to grips with.

Our meeting May 24th was no surprise to anyone who watches the business of our county. I watched, veiled and not so veiled, politically motivated, and completely coordinated attacks levied against our County Administrator in a poorly executed attempt to disrupt county government.

What most Citizens do not know is what has been going on daily, as forces inside and outside of our organization try to undermine our progress. There is a lot that has been going on “behind the scenes” where people have been actively working against the new Commissioners and the new Administration. Here is some truth: despite attempts to disrupt, misdirect, and otherwise upend the daily workings of your county government, county services have and will not be affected. While those forces represent a slim minority, they’d like you to think there is a mass exodus of county employees.

That simply is not true.

During the so called “great resignation” where Americans (by the millions each month) quit their jobs, Manatee County was not spared. While 593 employees left the county in the 14 months since Dr. Hopes took over as Administrator, only 243 of those resigned. A look at HR records from the previous year (before Dr. hopes) shows 426 people parted ways with the county, with 141 resignations and 58 quitting with less than 2 weeks notice.

Dealing with facts is important during this period. It is important to rebuild trust between the public and their government- at any level. Our county is changing and growing like never before. Unraveling false narratives and misinformation takes time and energy. We need to continue to fuel the positive momentum we are carrying forward and, not let those bent on division and destruction have their way.


Your county government needs to be leaner, more responsive and focused. But, before I go there, let’s review some history.

Prior to last November’s election, your county government raised billions in new taxes, sometimes promising projects that later were never funded. Bureaucrats pretty much did whatever they wanted. Infrastructure was ignored leaving billions in backlogs.

The new (Kruse, VanOstenbridge, Satcher and myself) majority of your County Commission is focused like a laser beam rooting out corrupt bureaucrats, lowering taxes and investing record amounts in infrastructure projects that protect our water supply and expand our road network.

We will not deviate from that focus, no matter what attacks, resignations, protests or catastrophes come our way. We are here to serve you, protect your quality of life, provide funding for public safety and make sure Manatee County continues to thrive.

We have already made great strides. From finally writing the closing chapters of Piney Point, to continuing work on improving infrastructure, to expansion and upgrades in our parks, preserves and recreation centers.

We can’t do things the way we have been doing them in the past. We must be smarter, quicker, and more responsive, however, we are up to the task.

Vanessa Baugh
Manatee County Commission
District 5

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