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Crist's general counsel to leave, weighs private offers

UPDATE: The Governor's Office would not confirm that Rob Wheeler, a member of Crist's legal staff, will be promoted to the general counsel post. Spokeswoman Erin Isaac said an announcement will be made Friday.

Jason Gonzalez, general counsel to Gov. Charlie Crist, is leaving and weighing offers in private practice.

Gonzalez The 35-year-old UF law school graduate has been in the post less than 18 months, but they have been a busy and historic period. He has played an historic role in the shaping of Florida's Supreme Court, serving as Crist's chief advisor on the appointment of four new Justices: Ricky Polston, Jorge Labarga, James E.C. Perry and Charles Canady. The four appointments are the first time in Florida history in which a governor appointed a majority of the Court in less than a year.

Gonzalez's last day is Friday, when Justice Perry will have his investiture ceremony, becoming only the fourth African-American justice in state history. The Times/Herald hears Gonzalez, who is married with young children, is weighing offers from several prominent statewide firms but has not yet decided which to join. He has been one of just a few minorities to serve in the top of Crist's administration.

Before joining Crist's administration, he served starting in 2006 as General Counsel to the Republican Party of Florida by Chairman Jim Greer. After graduating from UF law school, Gonzalez joined the Tallahassee firm of Ausley & McMullen, P.A. as an associate attorney.