by Mitch Perry
On Tuesday morning, the newly formed Hillsborough County Commission board met. Although there's nothing new about the members, as the only two who faced competition from the opposite party — Democrat Kevin Beckner and Republican Al Higginbotham — easily vanquished their challengers two weeks ago in the general election. Victor Crist defeated his only GOP challenger back in August, and Les Miller and Sandy Murman took their seats again.
Today, Ken Hagan was selected for the fifth time by his colleagues to serve as the board's chairman.
Before the vote, Hagan, a major sports fan, was given a hockey stick and Tampa Bay Lightning jersey as a gift for his just completed tenure as commission chair.
"Every board member here is ... a true statesman and epitomizes what a public servant is and should be," Hagan said after he was named chairman. "It's an honor to serve with you and be your board chair, and I'm very, very touched and honored."
The first round of voting began with Crist nominating Murman for chair. Beckner followed up by nominating Mark Sharpe, who he said had been serving on the board "for an extraordinarily long time." He said it was Sharpe's time to lead.
But that would not be the case.
Seemingly as an afterthought, Commissioner Higginbotham placed Hagan's name in for nomination.
On that first vote, none of the three candidates received five votes, the number needed to win the chairmanship.
But the second time around, Hagan received the majority.
The commissioners chose to retain Murman as vice chair and Miller as the chaplain.
They also selected which boards they want to serve on throughout the next year (in some cases they're the same as they have been). Here's a complete list:
· Arts Council — Crist
· Aviation Authority — Crist
· Children's Board — Beckner
· Emergency Policy Group — Hagan, Murman, Crist
· Environmental Protection Commission — Beckner, chair; Miller, vice chair
· Expressway Authority — Miller
· Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority — Beckner, Murman, Sharpe
· Hospital Authority — Miller, Murman
· Metropolitan Planning Organization — Beckner, Miller, Murman, Sharpe
· Port Authority — Murman
· Southwest Florida Water Management District Liaison — Hagan
· Tampa Bay and Company — Hagan
· Tampa Bay Estuary Program Policy Board — Beckner
· Tampa Bay Partnership for Regional Economic Development — Sharpe
· Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council — Crist
· Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority — Hagan
· Tampa Bay Water — Murman, Sharpe
· Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance — Murman
· Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation — Hagan
· Tampa Sports Authority — Hagan