The county commission has its organizational meeting Tuesday and all indications are Ron Kitchen Jr. will be the new chairman.
I know a lot of people aren’t thrilled with that. They don’t know if Nice Ron or Sarcastic Ron will show up on any given day.
But it’s not worth dragging the county through a year of infighting that would no doubt take place time and again if someone tried to block Kitchen’s path to chairman. Besides, who the chairman is might be a big deal to some people but it’s no big deal at all to most.
Here’s another thing. I wrote a few weeks ago about Ron’s leadership style and said I could find no one who said they were big Ron supporters. Well, the truth is Ron has lots of support in Sugarmill Woods, where he lives. Here’s part of an email that a community leader sent County Administrator Randy Oliver, which I saw in my weekly email review:
“I also chair our monthly meetings with Commissioner Ron Kitchen. I call them our Kitchen Table Meetings which I think appropriately lends itself to Ron’s open, direct and no frills style of communication. I’ve been doing this for six or seven years now. I’m a big fan of Ron.
“Ron has been very complimentary about you and your efforts within Citrus County. We seldom, if ever, have a discussion where your name doesn’t come up. You’re a valuable asset to the management of our community. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. Thank you for what you do!”
So, Ron, we’re all pulling for you and for this county commission to have a successful year.
Two other things about Tuesday:
– Scott Carnahan gets an opportunity to do what’s not been done, at least that I could find.
Carnahan will chair a special county commission meeting the same day a new chairman is chosen.
The clerk’s online meeting minutes go back to 2006, and I could find no other instance of the county commission scheduling anything other than the organizational meeting that day. Nothing to stop that from happening; the organizational meetings generally have full agendas as well.
But it’s still odd. Carnahan will be chairman in the morning and Kitchen in the afternoon. Unusual things in government like that always catch my attention.
– Commissioner Jeff Kinnard is coming back to the board with some ideas of how to approach the Pirate’s Cove property. The owners turned down the county’s initial offer, and Kinnard’s support on the board for this idea is lukewarm at best.
But it shouldn’t be because it’s a good idea Kinnard has. We should be encouraging the protection of valuable open space in this county instead of immediately shutting down the idea because of money. We are not going to ANYWHERE if the first question is how do we pay for it. Of course we have to be smart, but if the reaction is no to every single good idea that comes down the pike – well, that’s just ridiculous.
Leaders don’t say no just to say no. They try to devise plans to make good ideas work. This is a great opportunity for county commissioners to sit back, think a little, and listen to Kinnard’s pitch. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But the public deserves a good informed discussion.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.