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Editor’s note: The Chronicle conversed with Commissioner Scott Adams last week to find out how he views the challenges of county government after eight months in office. The experience may have done little to change the opinions he expressed that got him elected. To hear audio of the complete interview, which ranges from talk of farm and home life to his work on the county commission, go to the bottom of the page and click on the attached audio player.
CHRONICLE: What did you expect going in?
ADAMS: I probably expected everything that I’ve seen except I was hoping it wasn’t everything that I thought.
CHRONICLE: What did you think?
ADAMS: I thought it was going to be a tangled web of bureaucracy and bureaucrats and self-serving issues and arrogant personalities and basically all that — irresponsible spending habits, mismanagement — it’s been more than that, actually.
CHRONICLE: Why don’t you go to commission briefings?
ADAMS: It’s a waste of money to have seven $100,000 people feeding you full of smoke. If I’ve got a problem after I read my information, I call one of them. It takes five minutes to get what you don’t understand.
CHRONICLE: Other counties have used reserves to balance budgets during lean times. Should Citrus not have done that?
ADAMS: Just because somebody else walks out in front of a semi and gets run over are you going to do it? That attitude is what’s got government from the local and state to the federal in trouble and I just don’t see the taxpayers being able to handle it much longer.
CHRONICLE: What about the cuts the county has already made? I’ve talked to county staff who say it’s hard to deliver the services.
ADAMS: I think that’s a fear tactic. I just see a lot of inaccurate statements. I see change not wanting to happen. It took four months before the Chronicle wanted to do an interview when I got elected. I went through the paperwork. I studied the issues. I picked everything apart and looked at the things and there’s just a lot of hot air and dog and pony shows that’s untrue. People need to put their differences aside and their arrogance and do what’s right for the taxpayers.
CHRONICLE: What is your schedule like?
ADAMS: It’s seven days a week. It’s nonstop. You can bite off as much of this as you want and I guess I’m a person who likes to make sure that I try to my fullest to accomplish things. Between me and my wife, it’s a full-time job for her, too, because she’s either there with me or she’s emailing, writing letters, she’s scheduling things with people privately calling wanting meetings and people wanting to see me and I have a county secretary. Basically, she just schedules meetings when people call.
CHRONICLE: What kind of businesses do you operate and how does that work with your job as a commissioner?
ADAMS: My wife plays a big part. We have a very long-term good staff at our waste business. I’m the vice president and the president is Charlie Dean Jr. Charlie does a fabulous job. So he takes a lot of the heat. If we have an issue we talk about it on the phone. That works itself out pretty good.
CHRONICLE: Where is your farm?
ADAMS: Right across from Point O’ Woods Country Club. We got a little over 200 acres there and then I’ve got some smaller pieces throughout the county. We run 60 to 100 head of cows. In the afternoons or early mornings, I go check. I have help. I’ve been doing this stuff so long.
My construction business, which I’m basically completely out of — I was in that business for 25 years. That’s where I made the bulk of my living.
Basically, I was semi-retired when I got this job. It’s been gratifying and I don’t regret none of it.
CHRONICLE: Politically, do you aspire to a state office?
ADAMS: That I may do one day. But for now, the job is a county commissioner. No matter where I’m at, I’m going to do a good job and do the right thing.
CHRONICLE: Why do you think people relate to you?
ADAMS: I’m a guy who didn’t make it through high school, who bought a $150-concrete mixer because I couldn’t get a job because I didn’t have a diploma. The only choice I had in life was to be in business for myself. It was the most ruthless and brutal thing to go through as a young man, but I made it. I never gave up. Like my dad told me one time. He said: ‘Boy, you’d better fake it ’till you make it because you ain’t smart enough.’
We were chicken farmers from Floral City. I picked eggs and ran cattle.
Everybody went to college. I went to the college of knowledge. It was the hardest earned and the most expensive education I imagine anybody could pay for. But it worked, when it finally kicked in.
CHRONICLE: What do you think about raising taxes?
ADAMS: I oppose every bit of it and I wouldn’t want to be the ones who vote it in on the next election. We’re basically a Mayberry type town being forced to be a Tampa and we’re not a Tampa. We’re working on projects way before their time.
We’ve got an 800-pound gorilla in front of us and sometimes you just don’t want to pick a fight with him. You want to stand off and not get his attention and just survive for a little while.
We don’t need any more Brad-economics. Brad-economics aren’t good for this county. We need true economics. We need two plus two adds four, not 22.
CHRONICLE: Have you seen anything in county government that you like?
ADAMS: There are some real good county employees. They do basically a good job. It’s not about them, it is about our higher-ups that is in control of the management and the direction of this county. And it’s your elected officials.
The only thing I hear when I’m up there is let’s spend more money. But who the heck’s paying for it?
Contact Chronicle reporter Chris Van Ormer at 352-564-2916 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Scott Adams Interview.mp3||56.72 MB|