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Business Observer Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 7 years ago

County to top boss: Don't leave

Manatee County commissioners want Ed Hunzeker to delay retirement.

BRADENTON — Manatee County commissioners like the work County Administrator Ed Hunzeker has done so much that they asked him to postpone his retirement, initially scheduled for 2014.

Commissioners made their plea publicly to Hunzeker after he presented the county annual report at a Tuesday meeting. Hunzeker, scheduled to retire this summer, has been Manatee County Administrator since 2007. He previously held leadership posts with Hillsborough County, and with a hospital and a transportation authority in St. Louis.

“(Hunzeker) has accomplished many money-saving measures in his time here, and he's given us a peek of an ambitious agenda ahead,” Manatee County Commission Chairman Larry Bustle says. “Ed's leadership is vital. I think it's a bad time to let him go.”

The annual report Hunzeker presented detailed several highlights from the past year, including success with the county's new “No Kill” animal policy; lowered health insurance premiums due to county employees' weight loss of 5.4 tons over the past year; and lower building department fees.

Hunzeker didn't comment officially on the commission's call for him to stay, though the state's pension and retirement program could jeopardize some future pay and benefits if he stays.

“County Commission policies and the efforts of our remarkable staff have put Manatee County on the cutting edge of some innovative projects and programs that are making a difference in lives,” Hunzeker says. “Counties around the state and the region are looking to Manatee County as an innovator and a leader. We have a clear opportunity to become a leader in other areas not only in 2013 but for years to come.”

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