Bishop Becomes Latest Leader for Manatee Government

Todays News

Photo courtesy Manatee County: Charlie Bishop

Manatee County once again has a new leader at the helm of its government. County Commissioners last week selected Deputy County Administrator Charlie Bishop to fill the role in an interim capacity until a search for a permanent administrator concludes.

Bishop hinted at a public meeting he does not intend to hold job long-term.

“Obviously I know that this is temporary and we are all excited about the new county administrator coming on board very shortly,” he said.

Lee Washington, previously the county’s Neighborhood Services director, had been serving as interim county administrator since former County Administrator Scott Hopes abruptly quit from the role in February. In intervening months, the county discussed hiring Jon Mast, CEO of the Manatee Sarasota Building Industry Association, in the role but he ultimately withdrew his name from consideration.

Washington recently told the board he was going to retire. 

“Mr. Washington stepped up when asked to step up and did the job,” said County Commission chair Kevin Van Ostenbridge. “He was very near retirement anyway but the board asked him to step up for the county and he agreed to do so. Then of course he has been on leave the last couple of weeks, and we understand that in the end he made decision that it was time for him to move on, and we wish him all the best in his retirement. Godspeed going forward.”

Bishop said he felt good about the state of the county under Washington’s leadership the last several months.

“We’d like to say a few words about Mr. Washington and how much we respected him and his leadership to bring us to this point,” Bishop said at the meeting before agreeing to take on the job.

When Washington left, he temporarily left Deputy County Administrator Courtney de Pol is charge, but the county commission unanimously voted to put Bishop in the role through a formal vote. Bishop said he will work closely with de Pol and considered he a key member of the staff.

“This is a team effort,” he said.

Photo courtesy Manatee County: Charlie Bishop

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