Union commissioners extended County Manager Mark Watson’s contract by three years Oct. 5 after they were accused by a Wesley Chapel councilman of not trusting staff.
Village Councilman Mike Como told commissioners that his biggest takeaway from a recent meeting they had at the Union County Agricultural Center was that leaders don’t seem to trust county staff.
“I would hope that when you spend time deliberating what goes on this corner and what goes on this property you would also allocate some time in the very near future to restore whatever problems you seem to be having with staff to the point where you can sit down and say I trust when this person says something that that is a true statement,” Como said. “If you don’t, that’s a house divided.”
Como has been among the most vocal Wesley Chapel leaders when it comes to the rezoning of unincorporated county property surrounding around the village. Recent rezoning proposals have sought higher density.
He takes issue with commissioners saying they don’t have control of what happens in Union County.
After Como’s comments, Commissioner Dennis Rape added the contract extension to the meeting agenda.
Watson was already inked through Dec. 31, 2021. Rape made a motion to extend that three years to Dec. 31, 2024.
“We’re very happy with the direction the county is heading in,” Rape said.
Commissioners voted unanimously to extend Watson’s contract.
Commissioner Richard Helms later said he took “great offense” to Como’s remarks.
“We have one of the most transparent staffs and best working relationships with staff that I experienced,” said Helms, who has served as commissioner since 2012. “I think it was demonstrated by the extension of the manager’s contract. I consider it a privilege with the staff that we work with. We don’t always agree but we respectfully work out the differences. That’s what we’re supposed to do as a board.”