Manatee County Commission replaces Hopes as county administrator

Scott Hopes speaks to the Manatee County Commission Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
Scott Hopes speaks to the Manatee County Commission Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.(Manatee County)
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 1:48 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 3:00 PM EST
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UPDATED at 2:40 p.m. with details of meeting, separation agreement.

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Manatee County Commission replaced replace Dr. Scott Hopes as county administrator at an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The commission named Lee Washington, the county’s director of community and veterans services, as interim administrator in his place. There was no discussion or explanation as to what prompted Hopes’ departure.

In a short statement as the meeting began, Hopes thanked commissioners. “I want to thank the board for the opportunity to have served for the past 22 months,” he said.

Commissioners, in turn, said they were appreciative of Hopes’ leadership, which began the day the crisis at the former phosphate processing plant at Piney Point began. “You stepped in and handled it courageously,’ commission Chair Kevin Van Osterbridge said. “You led us through that entire process ... We are grateful for that.”

“I’ve enjoyed the time we’ve worked together,” Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said. “You have great potential to do whatever you put your mind to do.”

“At the end of the day, you were the right person for the job at the time,” Commissioner George Kruse said.

The separation agreement negotiated with Hopes says the end of Scott’s employment as a voluntary resignation and separation are without cause and that Hopes departs “in good standing in all relevant respects.”

Hopes will receive four months severance pay, and will be paid for all accrued sick and vacation pay. His health insurance will continue for another year.