April 20, 2017 at 10:10 am

The United Bureaucracy of Lake County

The United Bureaucracy of Lake County

Commissioners Vote to Strengthen The Establishment

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners continue to cede authority to the ousted commissioners by voting 5-0 to hire Jeff Cole as the new County Manager.  Sources close to the Lake County Commission said the actual vote would have been 3-2 if not for a push for a unity vote by the Commission Chairman.  So much for commissioners standing on principles.  This is what the old commission did, so not much has changed.

Our opposition to Jeff Cole is well placed, considering how bureaucratic Lake County government has become over the last 15 years coupled with his background while serving on the St. Johns River Water Management District.  The SJRWMD was considered by most in business and economic development as one of the largest job and business killer in the state of Florida.  Jeff Cole was Chief of Staff at the SJRWMD, and after Governor Rick Scott was re-elected in 2014, Cole was given an opportunity to resign or be fired.  Gov. Scott’s priority was getting Florida back to work, not protect the bureaucracy like they do in Lake County.

Lake County is considered to be one of the most over-regulated and highest fee-laden counties in Florida.  Lake County also has a reputation of being anti-business.  So what does the Lake County Commission do?  They hire a new County Manager whose experience is running a bureaucracy that mastered in killing jobs and business.  Plus, as a bonus, they keep the influence of former commissioners around.

We are a very conservative blog and it chaps us when Republicans who claim to be conservatives with big ideas in elections turn out to be bureaucrats who don’t have the will to stand up against The Establishment and bureaucracy.  In fact, they become part of it.  Have you ever seen a group of grown people who are so scared to change the status quo?  At least have the gumption to vote your conscience and not fall prey to some outdated notion of unity.

I hope we are wrong about Jeff Cole.  However, our prediction is there will be more regulations, more fees, and fewer businesses calling Lake County home.

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April 17, 2017 at 9:15 am

THE FIX IS IN!

THE FIX IS IN!

Conner and Cadwell Crony Angling for County Manager Position

On November 8th, Lake County voters gave Donald J. Trump 60% of the vote, sending a message that they wanted him to drain the swamp that is Washington, DC.  Just two months prior, Lake County voters had sent that same message to the establishment in Tavares, when they booted longtime career politicians Jimmy Conner and Welton Cadwell – or so they thought. It’s starting to become clear that despite the change at the top, things are reverting to business as usual in Lake County.

On Tuesday, the county will decide on a new county manager. Despite the clear message from voters, two of the five candidates are longtime county employees. To make matters worse, one of the internal candidates, Jeff Cole, was brought in by prior Commissioners Conner and Cadwell with the promise that he would be made County Manager when the current manager retired.  This would be the local equivalent of President Trump hiring Hillary Clinton as his Chief of Staff!

Looking back, it seems the fix was in from the start.  Unlike the School Board, the county failed to hire a professional search firm to vet applicants.  Why?  Because a search firm wouldn’t have found either of the two internal candidates qualified, given their lack of management experience.  They also limited the search to only applicants with three years of experience in Florida; another move to keep out otherwise more qualified candidates.

Any Lake County Commissioner who votes for one of the internal candidates is going against the change mandate of the last election by ceding their authority to Jimmy Conner and Welton Cadwell.  Even worse, if they select Jeff Cole, they are giving Conner and Cadwell a direct line to influence and undermine every decision made at the county. Lake County needs fresh eyes and new ideas, not more business as usual by rewarding the current leaders of a dysfunctional Lake County government bureaucracy.

Fortunately, it’s not too late. The county has three qualified outside candidates, who are capable of changing the culture and direction of Lake County.  The voters sent a clear message that it’s time for a change in Lake County.  On Tuesday, we will find out if the Commission is listening to the voters, or the Lake County establishment.  Let the Commissioners know that it’s time to #draintheswamp in Lake County.  You can contact the commissioners at https://www.lakecountyfl.gov/departments/commissioners/contacts.aspx

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