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East County Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 1 day ago

After Manatee County Commission vote, Vanessa Baugh remains commission chair

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Motion asking that Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh step down from her role as chair is denied 4-3.
by: Brendan Lavell Staff Writer

A motion to remove Commissioner Vanessa Baugh from her role as chair of the Manatee County Commission failed 4-3 on Feb. 23.

Commissioner Reggie Bellamy raised the motion after asking Baugh if she planned to resign as commissioner, which she said she did not. Commissioner Carol Whitmore seconded the motion. Commissioner Misty Servia also voted in favor of the motion.

The motion came after Baugh helped orchestrate a pop-up vaccination site in Lakewood Ranch, requested by Gov. Ron DeSantis, that used Manatee County’s Vaccination Standby Pool but only pulled recipients from the 34202 and 34211 Zip codes.

“This was a bad decision, and I do think there should be some consequences,” Bellamy said. “As much as I respect you as the chair, and as much as I admire you and your work ethic and your work for your district, I do believe we need to make sure that there are some consequences here from the board perspective. And what I mean by that, I don't think anyone can make a mistake of making this decision that has impacted so many and reached a level of magnitude that this has and we do not address it as a board.”

If the motion had passed, Whitmore wanted to move to make Commissioner George Kruse the new chair. Kruse said he appreciated Whitmore’s consideration but would not vote to remove Baugh or accept the position.

“If I walked out this door today and just walked down all of Main (Street) and found the first 100 people, 95 of them couldn't tell you who the chair of this board is, and 90 of them couldn't tell you what the chair of this board does,” Kruse said. “What they care about is whether or not their road’s flooded, and whether or not we're getting proper infrastructure and that they have a quality of life here. So I'm not going to hold this over people's head endlessly.”

Brendan Lavell is a general assignment reporter for the Observer. He earned degrees in journalism and history at the University of Missouri. He has visited 48 of the 50 United States, has a black cat named Arya and roots for the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, 76ers and Chelsea FC.

See All Articles by Brendan

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