Manatee County sheriff looking into commissioner’s alleged manipulation of vaccine list

A complaint says that Vanessa Baugh may have misused her position by adding her name and others into the standing pool.

Manatee County sheriff looking into commissioner’s alleged manipulation of vaccine list
Commissioner Vanessa Baugh. (Source: WWSB)

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is looking into the actions of County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh and two pop-up vaccine sites in Manatee County. A complaint is alleging that Baugh may have improperly inserted herself and other constituents into the county’s standing pool.

It’s been a tumultuous day for the chairperson who was greeted at today’s commission meeting with protesters demanding her resignation. A vote to remove her as chair of the Manatee County Commission failed, 4-3.

The commotion comes after a firestorm of criticism over her selection of two affluent areas in her district to host last week’s COVID-19 vaccine pop-up sites. Now a complaint has been filed questioning the ethics of Baugh’s contact with her constituents over Manatee County’s waiting pool for vaccines.

Michael Barfield, a paralegal, filed a complaint with the Manatee County Sheriff’s office alleging an abuse of the commissioner’s position.

The official document reads, “Between February 9, 2021, and February 15, 2021, Baugh ignored the Vaccine Standby Pool process and selected two zip codes within her own district, including friends and herself, that would receive the additional doses of Covid-19 vaccine at the pop-up site.”

It also alleges that she emailed Manatee County Emergency Director Jacob Saur a list of names for the pool.

You can view the entire complaint below:

MCSO says that detectives are looking into this complaint, but could provide no further details at this time. Baugh made a point in statements to the county commission that she herself had not been selected to receive a vaccine.

ABC7 will update this story as more information is received.

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