January 25, 2015

Priebus and Wasserman Schultz mislead on immigration, but Dems have political edge

One of the most bipartisan aspects of immigration reform is the inability of the Republican and Democratic leaders to talk honestly about it.

Simply look at how Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and his Democratic counterpart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, handled the issue last week.

Rather than provide hard facts, they reverted to the political parties’ default position: Recrimination for political point-scoring. The problem for Republicans, though, is the issue benefits Democrats more in presidential election years.

More here

January 24, 2015

WASH POST: GOP presidential candidates face delicate balancing act

Washington Post's Dan Balz and Robert Costa, writing from Iowa on Saturday:

 The most wide-open Republican presidential nomination campaign in memory had its unofficial opening here on Saturday at a gathering that highlighted anew the thorny path ahead for candidates as they try to attract support from the party's conservative base without compromising their hopes of winning a general election.

(MIssing from event: Bush, Romney, Rubio, Paul and Jindal.)

READ THE REST OF STORY HERE 

January 23, 2015

Vanity Fair's David Margolick's revisits Jeb Bush's Andover days

Vanity Fair's David Margolick writes in Vanity Fair ...

Andover back then was a thoroughly cliquish place, divided neatly into “jocks,” “nerds,” “freaks,” and “zeroes.” [Jeb] Bush was hard to pigeonhole—he was captain of the tennis team and was friendly with several black students—but was also, improbably (as one classmate called him) “a budding hippie.”

READ MARGOLICK'S STORY HERE

 

The InnoVida scandal, with Jeb Bush now the lead character

@doug_hanks

As the InnoVida scandal unfolded in the Miami media, Jeb Bush was part of the supporting cast.

The former governor was just one of several well-known figures the smooth-talking CEO, Claudio Osorio, recruited to bring respectability to a company that would ultimately be the vehicle for a $50 million swindle. Miami Heat great Alonzo Mourning, retired general Wesley Clark and condo king Jorge Perez were also reliable mentions in InnoVida coverage for their ties to the failed company. 

But with Bush readying a presidential run, he finds himself fully in the InnoVida spotlight. The Washington Post put the saga on the front page this week, with some new details that highlight the kind of money that Bush's consulting deal with InnoVida could have generated if the company had been legit. 

In our story, we revisit the business scandal that unfolded like a classic Miami fraud -- one with the requisite fancy cars, lavish mansion and wealty, prominent friends.

At the time, it didn't also involve a presidential candidate. But stay tuned. 

Read the story here

Scott avoids reporters amid calls for investigations into FDLE

As Gov. Rick Scott on Friday continued to brush off questions about allegations of political meddling made by the state's former top law enforcement officer, pressure mounted elsewhere in Florida to get answers.

A Land O'Lakes man filed a formal complaint with the FBI asking for an investigation into a series of claims made last week by Gerald Bailey, whom Scott ousted as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

"There's a clear indication of tampering with criminal investigations and FDLE that an impartial investigator needs to take a look at," said Jim Frissell, a 58-year-old engineer.

Frissell sent his complaint to Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, who, along with Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, said on Thursday that a third party should investigate Bailey's allegations, which included charges that Scott's office or campaign pressured him to fudge details in a criminal investigation, shuttle campaign workers in state vehicles, expedite a criminal investigation of a possible Scott appointee and craft Scott's campaign platform on law enforcement.

Scott's office has broadly deemed Bailey's allegations to be "false" or "petty" but has refused to provide details.

Frissell disagrees with Putnam's suggestion that the FDLE's inspector general could handle the case and hopes to persuade him to push for a federal investigation.

Read story here

Senator conducts surprise inspections at two prisons with troubled history

Suwanee CorrectionalThe chairman of a key legislative committee and an entourage of Senate staff dropped in for an evening of surprise inspections at two of North Florida’s troubled prisons late Thursday.

The initial findings after touring Suwannee Correctional and Jefferson Correctional: dormitories that had been abandoned because of leaking roofs, facilities dependent on community donations for supplies, and dangerously low staffing levels at two prisons with a history of inmate abuse.

 “I’m sorry to be the only fool who has taken it on himself to check it out but I don’t like dog and pony shows,’’ said Sen. Greg Evers, R-Crestview, in an interview with the Herald/Times. 

He said he decided he needed to conduct the surprise inspections to “get to the bottom of what needs to be done at the Department of Corrections” after a series of reports in the Miami Herald have called attention to a record number of inmate deaths and allegations of cover-up by officials involved.

He said he relied on a state statute that allows authorized visits by legislators, governors, judges, Cabinet officials and states attorneys and brought along his staff to chronicle the experience.

The reaction from the close-knit prison establishment: complete surprise.

“A Senator or Representative, touring a State Correctional facility, afterhours, is unheard of,’’ wrote Samuel Culpepper, director of prisons for Region 1 in North Florida, in an email message to wardens on Friday morning. “We’re in a new day and a new time.”

Continue reading "Senator conducts surprise inspections at two prisons with troubled history" »

Olenick to join state Board of Education

Michael-OlenickGov. Rick Scott has appointed Michael Olenick to the state Board of Education.

Olenick, 62, is a former general counsel for the state Department of Education. He currently chairs the Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees.

"I know Michael shares our goal of making sure all of our students succeed in the classroom, and I am pleased to appoint him to the State Board of Education today," Scott said in a statement.

Olenick is vice president of corporate affairs and chief compliance officer of The Morganti Group, an international construction company. A graduate of Nova Southeastern School of Law, he previously served as assistant state attorney for Broward and St. Lucie counties, as well as Martin County attorney.

He will replace Ada Armas, a Miami-Dade physician who resigned from the education board to spend more time with her family. 

His term ends December 31, 2016.

The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

This time in Winter Park, Scott sidesteps more questions on FDLE

@mikevansickler

During a Friday afternoon news conference in Winter Park, reporters continued to push Gov. Rick Scott to answer questions that he’s been dodging for a week about why he ousted Gerald Bailey from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the allegations that Bailey has made since then.

And for the second time Friday, Scott avoided answering most of the questions.

“This is by far the most hostile I’ve seen any interaction between Scott and the media,” said Jason Garcia, a Florida Trend editor who attended the Winter Park news conference.

Here’s Garcia’s transcript of the Q & A:

Question: Are you willing to either call for or accept an outside investigation into the ouster of FDLE Commissioner Bailey?

Scott: “Here are the facts: Gerry Bailey was eligible for retirement. My belief is, in all your agencies in government, you ought to be looking for new talent all the time, looking for new ideas. He agreed to step down. Then a new commissioner was approved by all the Cabinet. Then after that, he decided to make attacks. It’s unfair to the individuals that work at FDLE. They do a great job. It’s also unfair to the new commissioner, Rick Swearingen, who also does a great job.”

Question: Will you just tell us, yes or no, did you tell FDLE to target Colleen Reilly or say that it was targeting Colleen Reilly? Just answer yes or no. Why dance around the question?

Scott: Sure. My press office put out a frequently asked questions yesterday. So you can call them.

Question: Will you accept an outside investigation?

Scott: If there’s an investigation, I’ll work with them.

(There was a second media availability as Scott was leaving.)

Question: (Inaudible, but it was about Reilly.)

Scott: The questions have all been answered in the frequently asked questions. So you should call the press office.

Question: Why don’t you answer it now?

Scott: Go to what the press office put out.

Question: It’s not answered in the release --

Scott: Is that all you have? See you guys. (Scott pushes through TV cameras and into a waiting car.)

The "frequently asked questions" that Scott was referring to was released by his office on Thursday. As one of the reporters implied, it did not answer many questions about Bailey's ouster.

So the public still awaits a full account... 

 

Police body camera bill loses its teeth

A South Florida lawmaker proposed legislation last month that would require every police officer in the state to wear a body camera while on duty. 

The cameras became central to the debate about law enforcement accountability following the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City.  

But they have been questioned by many policymakers and leaders in law enforcement because of concerns about costs, privacy and how they would be used in internal police investigations. 

In the first House committee workshop on the bill (H.B. 57) Tuesday, those same concerns were brought up -- and are leading sponsor Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, to dramatically change his proposal. 

There'll be no more requirement that every officer wear a camera, he said. 

"We all should have some type of accountability," Jones said. "I thought it was a great accountability tool on both sides, the citizens and the police officers." 

Instead of putting a camera on every officer in the state, the new bill will set guidelines for policies to be put in place by police departments that choose to implement cameras, such as the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, which will start training its officers next month and plans to have more than 300 deployed by the end of February. 

The issues that will likely remain hot topics as this moves through the legislature -- costs and privacy chief among them -- are questions the Pasco sheriff has already grappled with, said Maj. Mel Eakley, who has been intimately involved with the process. 

The biggest cost is data storage, which is problematic largely because no one's certain just how much memory would be needed, is being handled by obtaining unlimited server space. 

And privacy? Eakley said all interactions with the general public will be recorded unless it's in private property, the owner asks for cameras to be shut off and there isn't a clear crime being committed. The cameras are collecting evidence, he said. 

The Pasco policies are fluid, Eakley said, and he recommends that as the Legislature starts finalizing its rules for departments, it ought to look at what his department is doing. 

"We think that the things that we're trying to accomplish are probably a good start for the legislation," he said. "This is an evolving technology, and we think that our policy as it's written is a good start."

Jeb Bush headlines fundraiser, education summit in Tallahassee

@MarcACaputo

Jeb Bush used to jokingly call the state capital "Mount Tallahassee" and on Feb. 10 he's making the treck back there to raise money for his (likely) presidential campaign and to talk education.

The $1,000-per-head fundraiser is closed to the press. The education forum, which could feature Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, is open to reporters.

Here's the press release for that:

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush... will participate in Keeping the Promise: A Florida Education Summit, hosted by the Foundation for Florida’s Future (@aFloridaPromise) on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. The half-day event, 2-5 p.m., at The Alumni Center in Tallahassee, Fla., is convening top Florida policymakers and education stakeholders for a conversation about accountability and choice, two of the most important factors for unlocking student potential. Event cohosts include Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Council of 100, Hispanic CREO, the James Madison Institute, the Multicultural Education Alliance, and the Urban League of Greater Miami.


“Florida’s impressive gains in student achievement began 15 years ago with the A+ Plan for Education,” said Patricia Levesque, executive director of aFloridaPromise, “Annual testing, data-driven accountability and educational choices were a huge part of the transformational improvements that followed, supporting work in classrooms to keep students from falling through the cracks. We must work together to ensure policies are implemented thoughtfully and in the best interest of students. We’re thankful to be joining with partners to bring stakeholders together for an informative, honest discussion on how to keep the promise we make to students.”

Attendees at #FLpromise15 will hear from leading policymakers, researchers, innovators and educators. New, national research by ExcelinEd Senior Policy Fellow Dr. Matthew Ladner relating to the changing demographics in Florida will also be shared – it will highlight Florida’s population outlook and what that means for education and the economy. The event will conclude with a myth-busting discussion on one of the most talked-about and misunderstood topics today: educational choice.

Keeping the Promise: A Florida Education Summit is free, and registration is open to the public. Space is limited. Registration for individuals and the media is available at http://keepingthepromise.eventbrite.com.

Scott's proposed budget will include more money for people with disabilities

Another day, another budget recommendation.

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday unveiled new additional of his budget proposal, including $8 million to enroll all individuals "with critical needs" from the waiting list to the Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver Program.

"I am pleased to announce that for the second year in a row, Floridians will be removed from the critical needs waiting list with our proposed funding," he said in a statement.

Scott is also prioritizing the Personal Learning Scholarship Account program. The program provides scholarships worth $10,000 or more to children with profound special needs. The money can be applied toward private school tuition, tutoring, educational materials and therapy.

The governor's proposed budget will include an additional $5 million for the program.

"Every individual should have the opportunity to get a great job and education regardless of the challenges they may face, and that is why we are making this funding a priority," Scott said.

He is expected to release his entire budget proposal next week.

'Daddy,' womanizing assistant warden, axed at troubled prison

@jknipebrown

Each day, the female inmates at Lowell Correctional Institution would line up at the back gate waiting to talk to "Daddy."

In the afternoons, the prisoners would take turns visiting his office, passing him slips of paper and asking for favors like special bunk assignments, chocolates or time to liaison with their female partners.

Assistant Warden Marty Martinez had so many women who wanted to spend time with him that it not only interfered with the daily operation of the facility, it caused jealous fights for his attention among inmates, according to an investigation by the Department of Corrections released Thursday.

Lowell corrections officers told the department's investigators that they were overruled, punished — and, in one case, even threatened — when they tried to discipline any of Martinez’s favorites.

Martinez, who was fired last week, is among 44 prison staff across the state who have been dismissed since new DOC Secretary Julie Jones took the helm of the embattled agency on Jan. 5.

"The Department has zero tolerance for misconduct of any kind," department spokesman McKinley Lewis said in a written statement Thursday, adding that Martinez "failed to conduct himself in a professional manner and acted inappropriately toward staff and inmates."

Lowell has been in the spotlight since October, when 36-year-old inmate Latandra Ellington was found dead just 10 days after writing her family a letter alleging that a Lowell corrections officer — she knew him only as “Sgt. Q” — had repeatedly threatened to beat and kill her.

Read more here.

The big news out of Miami-Dade: a new procurement chief is coming

@doug_hanks

Bill Johnson, Miami-Dade's former ports chief, got tapped for a big, high-profile state job on Thursday: the top corporate recruiter for Gov. Rick Scott as the new CEO of Enterprise Florida. 

But among the insiders in Miami-Dade County, the bigger news was the reset of leadership in the county's lucrative contracting system. 

Johnson current job is head of the Water and Sewer department, a post he took last year on his way to a mandatory retirement date this summer. He's credited with resolving a bottleneck for a management contract of an upcoming $1.6 billion upgrade of the sewer system. 

With the actual sewage work still up for grabs, Water and Sewer remains a top target of the county's lobbying industry as contractors maneuver for the business. Mayor Carlos Gimenez took no time naming Johnson's successor, announcing on Thursday he would shuttle veteran administrator Lester Sola over from Internal Services to Water and Sewer. 

The move shut down any pressure that might have built to conduct a national search for Johnson's replacement, and installs a sewer chief who is already close with Gimenez and elected commissioners. And he's plugged in with the big players in the county's legal and lobbying circles.

 Sola's transfer sets up the next closely-watched hire: his replacement at Internal Services. The department manages the county's facilities (including downtown's civil courthouse, target of a heated debate over how to replace it) and also the procurement process for outsourcing county services. The lobbying industry largely revolves around procurement, so the Internal Services appointment has high stakes for certain insiders.

It took a day for names to start circulating for Sola's successor.  Among them: Kevin Lynskey, deputy director at Port Miami; Miriam Singer, a Sola deputy who frequently appears before commissioners as the county's chief  procurement officer; and Tara Smith, an assistant director at Internal Services. 

More avoidance from Scott on FDLE questions

Since revelations surfaced on Jan. 13 about his removal of Gerald Bailey from the Department of Law Enforcement, Gov. Rick Scott has avoided answering questions from reporters in any meaningful detail.

Reporters had another fleeting chance to ask him questions Friday when he was in Miramar during a 10 a.m. news conference to tout SeaLand’s grand opening.

He took only three questions from reporters before leaving.

Here’s what he said about the FDLE situation.

"It’s disappointing what's happened,” Scott told reporters. "The facts are this. I believe we should continue to look at all our management teams, all of our agencies, always look to see if we can bring in people with fresh ideas, new energy. Gerald Bailey stepped down last month in December, waited until a new commissioner was approved by all the cabinets, then he started his nasty attacks. It's not fair to the individuals at FDLE who are doing a great job."

So, again, Scott is not saying that he forced Bailey to resign or whether he supports calls from Cabinet members for a third-party investigation.

Perhaps Scott will say more to reporters at 2 p.m. Friday when he’s scheduled to appear in Winter Park to make an announcement

Stay tuned.... 

-- w/ Herald staff writer Rebecca Savransky

Is online voter registration the 'more secure' method?

Florida lawmakers have overhauled many aspects of our elections laws in recent years, but one aspect has remained untouched: Voters can’t register online.

The statewide association of elections supervisors, which represents officials in both major parties, wants lawmakers to change that during the upcoming session. Supporters of the legislation argue one of the benefits is that it’s more secure.

"This is actually just simply a more secure, accurate and cost-efficient way of doing voter registration," said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, said at a Senate Ethics and Elections committee hearing Jan. 20. Clemens is sponsoring a bill for the upcoming session. 

Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, a Republican in favor of online registration, made similar remarks at the hearing. Citing information from a former elections official in Arizona -- the first state to use online registration -- Corley said that "there is a reduction in fraud."

Is online registration more secure? PolitiFact Florida decided to check it out. (One point omitted due to space in this fact-check: Both Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes and Miami-Dade Supervisor Penelope Townsley support the addition of online voter registration.)

 

Scott plan doesn't address disparities in Bright Futures scholarship program

ScottGov. Rick Scott on Thursday proposed spending $23.5 million to expand Bright Futures scholarships, but did not address recent criticism of the program — namely, that new eligibility standards put in place to control costs have kept thousands of low-income and minority students from receiving the awards.

Scott’s plan would direct new money to help students with Bright Futures scholarships pay for summer courses.

"By expanding Bright Futures scholarships to include summer courses, we are offering more flexibility for students to achieve their goals," said Scott, who held a press conference at the University of North Florida to announce his plans.

Board of Governors Chairman Morteza Hosseini said the proposal would help students finish their degrees faster, "reducing their debt and quickening their entry into the state workforce."

But Rep. José Javier Rodríguez, D-Miami, called it "odd."

"I haven't heard any constituents complaining about not having access to summer school," Rodríguez said. "What I have been hearing is that students at Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University who would have been eligible for Bright Futures scholarships [under the old standards] are no longer eligible."

Read more here.

Zogby online GOP-voter poll: Bush and Rubio tied at 13%, trail Romney at 16%

@MarcACaputo

Zogby Analytics, which conducts online surveys (note: they're controversial/experimental), is out with a new poll. From its website: 

A new Zogby Analytics of likely Republican primary voters shows that the 2012 nominee is in the lead for 2016, but only three points ahead of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current Florida Senator Marco Rubio.The poll of 223 likely primary voters was conducted online January 16-18 and has a margin of sampling error of +/-6.6 percentage points.

Romney is on top with support from 16% of the voters, followed by Bush and Rubio with 13% each. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is next with 11%, followed by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 9%, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 6%, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl with 4%, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz all at 3%. Other names included South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez, and former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum --- all receiving less than 1%.

At South Beach pow-wow, Marco Rubio's team looks like White House campaign-in-waiting

@MarcACaputo

6a00d83451b26169e201b7c71e57ae970bIn another sign of his White House ambitions, Sen. Marco Rubio hosts an election-strategy powwow today at the Delano Hotel with a finance team that looks like a presidential campaign-in-waiting.

None of the new major financiers of "Team Marco 2016" has deep Florida ties, a sign that his re-election for his Florida U.S. Senate seat in 2016 is looking more toward Pennsylvania Avenue.

George Seay III: the Texas finance chair of former Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. A co-founder and CEO of Annandale Capital, he’s the grandson of former Texas Governor Bill Clements

Wayne Berman: a top advisor to the Blackstone Group and Republican Jewish Coalition, the New York resident has held a variety of posts and transition team spots affiliated with eight GOP presidential campaigns, from Ronald Reagan in 1981 to George W. Bush in 2000.

Jim Rubrich: an Atlanta resident and former CEO of a paper and packaging company called RockTenn, he served on Georgia state leadership committees for George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns.

Anna Rogers: the finance director for American Crossroads, the conservative political group founded by President Bush advisor Karl Rove. It raised more than $200 million for presidential candidates since 2012. ABC reports she’ll start working for Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC on Feb. 1.

 

We'll see who shows up today and tomorrow. But just from the few names that have dribbled out, it's a safe to guess that Rubio's not just going through the motions to make it look as if he wants to sell his latest book (yes, campaigns help sell books and vice-versa). Rubio will more than likely run for president -- but when and for how long are two unanswered questions.

Coincidentally, the Delano meeting happens just as a new Zogby Analytics online poll (again: online) indicates Rubio ties Gov. Jeb Bush in second place among GOP primary voters (13 percent), though former GOP nominee Mitt Romney is the nominal frontrunner at 16 percent.

** This post has been updated

A Hialeah ZIP code leads nation in Obamacare enrollment

@chabelih @NickNehamas @dchangmiami

In one Hialeah ZIP Code, where signs selling “Obamacare” are plastered across storefronts and cover freeway billboards, more people have selected a plan on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange than in any spot in the country, according to the data release by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday.

Despite the political rancor associated with the healthcare reform law, residents of Hialeah signed up in record numbers for coverage in 2015. A total of 12,330 people in Hialeah’s 33012 ZIP Code selected a plan or were re-enrolled as of mid-January, the highest number in any ZIP Code in the 37 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform.

The number illustrates a 19 percent increase in enrollments in the 33012 ZIP Code from last year. The data reflects plan selections between Nov. 15 and Jan. 16 and could change if consumers fail to pay their monthly premiums. The enrollment period opened Nov.15 and ends Feb. 15.

The other ZIP Codes in the top five: 33126 in Miami, 33313 in Fort Lauderdale, 33015 in Hialeah and 33165 in Miami, each with enrollment between 8,000 and 9,000.

More here.

January 22, 2015

Upon further review, Scott's response to FDLE questions raises more questions

@mikevansickler

So Gov. Rick Scott, or rather his office, has responded to inquiries about his Dec. 16 ouster of Gerald Bailey from his job as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the allegations that were subsequently made by Bailey.

But hold on. Upon further review, the two-page “FDLE FAQs” that Scott released on Thursday, falls far short of filling in the blanks.

The release, which is organized in a Q & A format, lists 10 questions followed by bullet points.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Q: Is it true that Gerald Bailey was forced to resign?

-- Prior to December 16, 2015 (sic), the Governor’s staff notified cabinet staff (including the offices of the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Commissioner of Agriculture) that the Governor wanted new leadership at FDLE. Cabinet staff raised no objection.

-- On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, cabinet staff were notified that Gerald Bailey would be met with that day about the Governor’s desire for new leadership at FDLE. Peter Antonacci, then general counsel, met with Bailey and said the Governor wanted new leadership at FDLE and requested his resignation.

-- Bailey sent a letter to the Governor saying he was “stepping down” that same day, December 16th.

(Ok, where shall we begin? Let’s start with the obvious: None of the three bullet points directly answer the above question. The first bullet point implies in broad language [“the Governor wanted new leadership at FDLE”] that yes, Bailey was forced out. The second bullet point actually acknowledges that Scott’s general counsel, Antonacci, told Bailey that “the Governor wanted new leadership.” That’s at least more than what Scott initially told reporters on Jan. 13 when first asked if he forced Bailey out. A day later, asked again if he forced Bailey to resign, Scott replied: "In business, you often make changes because it's the right thing for that organization," he said in Tampa on Jan. 14. Nevermind that he’s the head of a government, not a business, but that doesn’t directly answer the question either. Was he forced out? Yes, but Scott still can’t say it. Also notable here, Scott isn’t disclosing names. Why? The “governor’s staff notified Cabinet staff...Cabinet staff raised no objection.” Who is “Cabinet staff”? "Governor’s staff?" Can we get a couple of names? Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam has provided names. He has told the Times/Herald that Scott’s Cabinet affairs aide, Monica Russell, relayed to Putnam’s Cabinet aide, Brooke McKnight, that Scott wanted to make staff changes in his second term, including at FDLE. But Putnam said he wasn’t given any more details, making it hard to figure just exactly what Scott was doing. "We were given a heads-up on a staff level that there was an interest in making changes going into the second term, including at FDLE. Period," Putnam told the Times/Herald last week. "That's all that was conveyed to me.” So the governor’s office doesn’t advance anything here. It mainly repeats established facts that no one is disputing [Antonacci met with Bailey, Bailey sent a letter to the Governor saying he was stepping down.] The public still has no clue from Scott if he forced Bailey out and, more importantly, why, beyond a vague “Governor wanted new leadership.” Well, duh.)

 

Continue reading "Upon further review, Scott's response to FDLE questions raises more questions " »