Scott asks 400 state staffers to rescind resignations for now

by
December 22, 2010

By Tonya Alanez, The Orlando Sentinel

Florida’s incoming “Let’s Get to Work” governor has yet to name a single member of his administration and has asked hundreds of current state staffers to stay on temporarily.

Rick Scott now wants more than 400 top state officials, who had been asked to resign, instead to remain in their jobs for up to three months after his Jan. 4 inauguration.

Some political observers speculate that this means Scott has hit a snag in naming a staff of his own, but Scott’s closest adviser says it is a way of ensuring he recruits the best qualified people.

Enu Mainigi, chairwoman of the Republican governor-elect’s transition team and a Washington, D.C.-based corporate lawyer, said Monday that “these are interim placeholder appointments, and nothing more.”

“We always anticipated that there would certainly need to be holdover for a certain period of time while we find the right person to fill these positions as opposed to finding a person by someone’s definition of the right deadline,” Mainigi said during an interview in Fort Lauderdale, where Scott has his transition office. “The absolute, clear intention is to ultimately bring in our own people across the board in all of these positions.”

But it is certainly “unusual” to be only two weeks away from taking office without a single administrative appointment in place, said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida.

“Obviously, it’s not optimal and it underscores the difficulty for someone coming in that doesn’t have experience in Tallahassee,” MacManus said. “He campaigned on ‘Let’s get to work,’ and the public expects him to have a team in place when he takes office; that’s pretty basic.”

Scott, a former hospital corporation CEO, has never before held elected office. Announcements of who will serve in the incoming administration are on the horizon, Mainigi said Monday, refusing to provide a timetable.

Resignations are traditional during a transition and hundreds of high-ranking state employees had already submitted their resignations to take effect Jan. 3, the day before Scott is to be sworn in. Scott’s team had required resignations from the top 10 people in each state agency. Gov. Charlie Crist, the outgoing governor, had limited it to the top six.

The six agency heads Scott has asked to stick around are George Sheldon of the Florida Department of Children & Families and the heads of the Department of Corrections; Agency for Workforce Innovation; Department of Business & Professional Regulation; Agency for Persons with Disabilities and Elder Affairs.

To read more, visit: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/fl-rick-scott-staff-20101221,0,6138652.story

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