Knox deputy named interim county attorney

Brevard County Attorney Scott Knox, who is retiring in late March after 24 years on the job, got most of his wish last week when county commissioners pondered how to replace him.

In a 5-0 vote, the County Commission on Feb. 20 promoted Deputy County Attorney Eden Bentley to the position of interim county attorney until commissioners can find a permanent replacement.

“I was very honored,” Bentley, 58, of Cocoa, said after the meeting. “I greatly appreciated their comments having to do with the quality of my work.”

“I’m very confident with Eden Bentley,” said commission Chairwoman Rita Pritchett of Titusville. “I think she’ll step in flawlessly.”

“I am more than confident Miss Bentley can sit as the interim attorney,” Vice Chairwoman Isnardi of Palm Bay said. “I welcome and encourage her to apply for the (permanent) position.”

Bentley, a Lakeland native, later said she hasn’t decided yet whether she will seek the job permanently.

Her resume shows she joined the county staff in 1986 after work in the private sector and a law clerk post with the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland. After joining the county, she spent 19 years as an assistant county attorney, advising the commission on land-use issues. She was promoted to deputy county attorney in 2005.

Knox’s last day on the job will be March 23, but the retirement becomes final on March 30 after a week of vacation.

He recommended Bentley for the interim post, calling her “qualified and eminently capable.”

But commissioners disagreed with Knox’s preference that Bentley hold the position until two possible new commissioners help vote on a full-time successor after the November elections.

Isnardi won the motion to promote Bentley, but also to have Human Resources Director Jerry Visco start compiling criteria for a new county attorney in the coming weeks and advertise the opening before the election.

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