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Hamilton forced out of Florida job

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David Hamilton, former Crow Wing County administrator, was fired on a 3-2 vote Tuesday from his Hernando County administrator job in Florida.

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A photo in the Hernando Today newspaper showed Hamilton walking out of the meeting room after the vote.

Hamilton previously requested time to prepare a transition plan for several key projects and survived a potential termination vote at a previous meeting.

Last week in a phone interview, Hamilton said he wanted to present the plan and through his legal counsel requested being able to stay through the end of the year.

“Overall it’s been an interesting and very busy three-and-a-half years since I left Brainerd,” Hamilton said.

He said Florida is going through tumultuous times with a reduction in county government.

“I knew that coming in,” Hamilton said. “I knew that was going to be a challenge.”

Hamilton said Hernando County is now the second highest of Florida counties for number of foreclosures. He said he didn’t regret taking the opportunity. He left Brainerd for Florida in February 2008 after a short tenure with Crow Wing County. He was recently on a short list of administrator candidates with Sarasota County in Florida, which is expected to make a decision on its hiring about Nov. 15.

Hamilton declined to comment on specific allegations made by his critics. He noted goodwill was not universal at this point in his tenure there. He likened the situation to a divorce and said he believed it would be done amicably.

“Part of the job of a county administrator is to know when the relationship is not there,” Hamilton said. “The dynamics are I will be gone on Tuesday or at the end of the year.”

The Hernando County Board majority picked Tuesday.

Hamilton described himself as a change agent, saying that may be remembered from his days in Brainerd.

Hamilton said Hernando County went through eight administrators in 12 years and some commissioners were not happy he applied for a Sarasota County position when he had not been there five years as he talked about when they hired him. Newspaper accounts in Florida note friction on a number of fronts.

Now Hamilton said he’s open to opportunities anywhere but ideally he’d like to find a final home at this point in his career and remain in local government, a career he said he continues to love.

As for Hernando County even before Tuesday’s vote, Hamilton said: “It’s a general understanding, it’s time to move on.”

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5852.

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with Causecast.org — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
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