Bay Buzz

The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough County commissioners get sworn in Tuesday

19

November

Hillsborough County will hold its investiture ceremony at County Center at 9 a.m. today for commissioners. Five returning commissioners will get sworn in after having survived the elections. They are: Sandra Murman, Victor Crist, Les Miller, Al Higginbotham and Kevin Beckner. 

After a reception, commissioners will then select who will lead them for the next year and dole out board and committee assigments, such as the board's representative to the Tampa Port and Tampa Sports authorities. 

The race for the chairmanship is often marked by behind-the-scenes arm-twisting. But there has been little evidence of that this year. In fact it has been almost weirdly quiet.

Miller, a Democrat, had placed an item on last Thursday's commission agenda that called for creating a rotation for the chairmanship, as he proposed last year. But Miller, a Democrat, said that, as with last year's proposal, he was hearing that Hillsborough County's Republican Party members were rallying against it.

They reject the idea on grounds that it would allow a Democrat to become chairman even though Republicans hold a five-person supermajority on the board. So Miller withdrew the item.

He has said the idea would take the backroom partisan fighting out of the equation even as he acknowledged that he has been getting no lobbying for the job from supporters of other commissioners this year. This time last year, commissioners were getting squeezed by supporters of Higginbotham and Ken Hagan, who were both vying for the title that Hagan ultimately won.

"Ironically, I haven't heard a thing," Miller said. "Nothing."

Does that mean Murman, the current vice chair, will ascend to the chairmanship? Or will someone on the board offer up a nomination for Mark Sharpe, who has failed to muster support in years past, as he stares at what is likely to be his final two years on the board? (Sharpe is actually out of town on a scheduled vacation, but will participate in the meeting either by phone or through Skype.)

That part of the morning's festivities begins at 11 a.m. 

[Last modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 6:12pm]

    

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