Manatee County Commissioner to Resign, "I've had all of this Board I want"

Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said she would resign from the board, possibly by the end of this year, because she was fed up with how she's been treated by her colleagues on the county's governing board.

Baugh, elected to a third term in November 2020, vowed to quit her position early after being stripped of both role as commission chair last month and recently as the county's representative to a key regional transportation panel.

Her statement followed an explosive discussion over a her removal from a county leadership position, and a finding of probable cause by the Florida Ethics Commission in December that she abused her office in helping coordinate a vaccine clinicearly last year.

Baugh was replaced as the County Commission's chair this year by Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge, following a vote at the Dec. 14 board meeting. But the moves did not stop there. Van Ostenbridge also removed Baugh as Manatee's representative on a regional transportation planning board, the Sarasota Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization. 

Baugh was slated as the incoming chair of the MPO, a board that helps determine regional transportation spending priorities, and serves on the Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Coucil's executive committee -- making her 2022 role one of the most influential positions a local commissioner could hold.

Heated infighting among commissioners has spilled into public county meetings, including the end of Thursday's board meeting, with Baugh voicing what her political opponents have been itching to hear -- that she planned to resign as commissioner.

"I will tell you, that probably by the end of this year, I will be resigning because I've had about all of this board I want," Baugh said. "I have bigger and better things to think about."

Read the Full Story at the Herald Tribune here.

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