ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Florida -- Brevard County Manager Howard Tipton notified Brevard County Commissioners this morning that he has been selected and approved as the next St. Lucie County Administrator.
"As you know with my impending departure from Brevard County planned for later this year, I had begun to look for what the next chapter in my career would be," Tipton wrote to the Brevard County Commissioners. "Well I never anticipated that things would come together so fast, but in God’s good time, it appears this next chapter will occur as the County Administrator for St. Lucie county which is the county just south of Indian River county. Their county commission approved my selection this morning and the next step in the process will be to work out an acceptable employment contract."
Last July, Tipton proposed that the Brevard County Commission designate Deputy County Manager Stockton Whitten as "County Manager In Waiting" following Tipton's announcement that he will retire from Brevard County in the fall of 2014.
But all of the Brevard County residents who spoke at last year's Commission meeting about the succession plan were opposed to it. "This succession plan is totally out of order," said Merritt Island resident John Weiler. "I recommend that you accept Tipton's resignation immediately. He [Mr. Whitten] should compete for it."
Commissioner Chuck Nelson disagreed with the residents and said that FLORIDA TODAY "got it right" in the paper's editorial in support of Tipton's succession plan.
Upset at what she sees as paying two people for the same position, Commissioner Trudie Infantini was the only one who voted against Tipton's plan. "It doesn't seem to be to the best interest of the taxpayer to pay for 15 months salary, plus 6 months severance pay on top of that, plus annual leave, sick leave, retirement and health benefits - its too much for the taxpayer to bear," said Infantini.