Andy Butterfield didn't have a chance to have sour grapes after Manatee County commissioners picked Charlie Bishop over him to be the county administrator.
Butterfield was named to the new role of Manatee County's chief of staff Oct. 10.
"Charlie’s got the historical knowledge here and is obviously good at what he does," Butterfield said. "I remember thinking when I was being interviewed, ‘Why wouldn’t they hire this guy? He’s the guy that’s going to train me for six months until I know what’s going on, so it would be more efficient to hire him.”
As the frontrunner from outside the county, Butterfield impressed commissioners enough that they approved his hiring after Bishop created a role for him.
Bishop told commissioners that communication wasn’t his strongest suit as administrator, so will be leaning on Butterfield to act as a liaison for him.
“I connect really well with Charlie. He was in the Air Force for 20 years. I was in the Navy for over 20,” Butterfield said, “But my last two duty stations were both at Air Force bases, so I speak Air Force.”
As of Oct. 16, Butterfield will oversee the Information Technology; Community and Veteran Services; and Records and Information Management departments. As of now, his additional duties include acting as a liaison for county partnerships, such as municipalities like the Town of Longboat Key, and to review processes and procedures.
However, the position is likely to evolve simply because it’s new. Bishop described some of Butterfield’s new duties as “almost everything else that doesn’t have a good place to put it.”
When Scott Hopes was the county administrator, he expanded the positions for deputy administrators from two to four, but the county has never had a chief of staff before.
“Effectively, Andy is taking that fourth spot, so for all intents and purposes, he’s essentially a deputy county administrator. He’s just being called something different because it’s a slightly different set of roles,” Commissioner George Kruse said. “There’s going to be some softer, forward facing things that don’t fall under a traditional deputy role.”
Butterfield said he was thrilled to get the offer and his experience has prepared him for the role. Before being hired by Manatee County, he was the director of operations for St. Pete Beach for four years. He also served as deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Special Operations Command at the MacDill Air Force base.
“As a chief of staff, you try to connect people,” Butterfield said. “You know a little about each project, so if people are like stovepipes, then you find connecting points.”
As county administrator, Butterfield would’ve had to move from St. Pete Beach to Manatee County. While he and his wife Lisa have looked at some homes in the area, they’re not in a hurry to make a decision because his commute is only 35 minutes.
Lisa Butterfield keeps her horse at a stable in Parrish, so they were traveling back and forth regularly. With every trip, Butterfield has witnessed the development happening in Manatee County.
“It’s hard to stop growth, so you just want to do it as smart as possible,” he said. “It just seems like it’s a place that needs a steady hand on the helm, and I’ll be one of those hands.”
Butterfield plans to make sure staff members have everything they need to perform, ensure coordination between departments, and take enough off Bishop’s plate that he has time to take a vacation every once in a while.
“I want to make it so they never regret creating the position,” he said.