MANATEE COUNTY, FL(Feb. 25, 2019) – After more than a half century in public service including 12 years as the Manatee County Administrator, Ed Hunzeker will retire at the end of this week. He plans to spend more time with his family.
Since his arrival as County Administrator, Manatee County has grown by more than 70,000 residents. Hunzeker instituted a zero-based budget process of public workshops that never called for a property tax increase despite plummeting revenues during the Great Recession.
The County Government accomplished much during his tenure including major capital projects such as the expansion of 44th Avenue to connect Lakewood Ranch to west Bradenton, the Fort Hamer Bridge to connect Parrish with LWR, new public safety radio towers to improve the communication network for first responders, a new Marine Rescue headquarters and more.
Also during Hunzeker's time as Administrator Manatee County voters approved a half-cent sales tax for infrastructure improvements. Hunzeker's vision to redevelop and revitalize urban areas of the county took form in recent years with the start of a new Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity Department and creation of the Southwest District.
He started the How Will We Grow conversation and that led to LDC changes that should help spur redevelopment and mixed use projects in the urban core and eventually create a more walkable community.
Early in his tenure as Manatee County Administrator, Hunzeker won Commission approval for a new economic development incentive package for to businesses that promised to provide new performance-based jobs that paid above the county average. Commissioners have since approved nearly $12.6 million in economic development-related incentives to create or retain more nearly 5,800 local jobs here through 2024.
Hunzeker encouraged County employees to give back to the community through the United Way. Since his arrival in 2007 County employees gave $1.2 million to the United Way and topped the $2 million career giving mark. Earlier this year the United Way Suncoast recognized Manatee County Government as one of the area’s Most Generous Employers.
County Commissioners will vote on a new County Administrator at their regular meeting tomorrow, Feb. 26. The Board will consider appointing Deputy County Administrator Cheri Coryea as the acting Administrator during the meeting.
Hunzeker implemented a leadership philosophy that empowers employees to work independently under the principles of Accountability, Civility and Ethics. County employees accomplished a host of significant achievements during Hunzeker's tenure including:
- Manatee County Library System was named Florida's Library of the Year in 2016. The Library System won multiple state awards over the past five years.
- Manatee County Marine Rescue won the 2018 Beach Patrol of the Year from the Florida Beach Patrol Chiefs Association.
- The County's Offender Work Program was launched allowing non-violent offenders to pay their debt to society through manual work in County parks and streets instead of serving time in an overcrowded jail.
- Manatee County became Florida’s fifth government to achieve Emergency Management accreditation in 2014.
- Manatee County became Florida's first County government to achieve Platinum Green Government Status.
- The County began hosting the popular Symphony on the Sand in 2013.
- The County launched an innovative Community Paramedic program that works with with frequent fall patients, mental health and substance abuse patients and other frequent 911 callers to keep patients out of the hospital.
- Manatee County Fleet Operations were ranked in the top 100 best fleets in the Country for more than 10 years.
- MCAT expanded VA Handy Bus service into Pinellas County, connecting Manatee residents to transit service north of the bay. The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council named Manatee County Area Transit’s Skyway Connection Route its first place winner for transportation and mobility