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Senate brain transplant: Mike Haridopolos hires, says no more fires

 So much for a Senate brain drain. Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos just hired two top Capitol finance gurus to replace a few top staffers who were let go. (More here) on the background. Haridopolos made the announcement here:

With just 47 days to go before our organizational session, I wanted to update you on some personnel moves I am planning in the Florida Senate.  I’m pleased today to announce four new hires and two promotions that will further enhance the work we do for the taxpayers of our great state.

 First, I have asked Jerry McDaniel to assume a lead role in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  Jerry currently serves as the Governor’s deputy chief of staff and director of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget.  Jerry brings extensive knowledge of the budget process to his new position.  He has more than 30 years of public service experience including serving three Attorneys General, the House of Representatives and two state agencies.  Jerry is a graduate of Florida State University.  His start date is still to be determined.

Second, Jose Diez-Arguelles will serve as staff director of the Finance & Tax Committee.  Jose currently serves as Deputy Staff Director of the House Finance and Tax Council and Policy and Budget Council.  Jose has served the citizens of Florida for more than 20 years in various capacities including House Finance & Tax staff director, House Insurance Committee staff director and legislative director in the former Cabinet position of Insurance Commissioner.  Jose is a graduate of Florida International University, a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law and holds an LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University

Third, Jim Spalla will serve as the staff director for both the Transportation and Agriculture Committees.  He brings more than 40 years of experience to the Senate and has extensive knowledge of both transportation and agriculture issues.  Jim is currently Of Counsel at Akerman Senterfitt.  He served for 15 years in the Department of Transportation rising to the position of General Counsel.  Jim also previously worked for the Department of Agriculture.  For more than 30 years he has authored publications and lectured on issues pertinent to his new position.  Jim is an AV rated attorney and has been ranked on a number of occasions by Florida Trend Magazine as one of the state’s “Legal Elite.”  Jim is a graduate of Ohio State University and the Florida State University College of Law.

 Fourth, John T. “Tim” Leadbeater will join the Senate Budget Office and serve as general counsel. Tim is currently a shareholder in the Ausley & McMullen law firm in Tallahassee.  He is also a certified public accountant. Before joining the private sector, Tim worked for the Department of Revenue for nine years.  Tim is an AV rated attorney. He graduated from Florida Atlantic University (BA and MBA) and from the University of Florida College of Law where he earned his JD and LL.M. in Taxation.  His start date will soon be determined.


In addition, I’d like to announce two promotions within the Senate.  I am pleased to announce that Sandra Stovall will be appointed staff director for the Senate Health Regulation Committee.  Many of you know Sandra and have worked closely with her as senior attorney in that committee for the past three years.  Sandra brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience having worked in the both the private and public sectors on health care issues.  She previously worked for the Department of Health, the Florida Auditor General’s Office, the Agency for Workforce Innovation and the predecessor to the Department of Children and Families.  Sandra is a graduate of Florida State University and Florida State University College of Law.  


Next, I have asked Reynold Meyer to serve as staff director of the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee. Many of you know Reynold, who has served for 12 years as staff director of the Senate Transportation Committee.  Reynold is a lawyer who has an undergraduate degree in accounting.  He has been a member of both the Florida Bar and the Mississippi Bar since 1984.  His 26 years of public and private legal experience has primarily focused upon transportation law. Reynold is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Mississippi College of Law.


And finally, All of the employees who are being replaced or have had their jobs eliminated due to consolidation have been told.  There are no more dismissals planned.  To my knowledge, all of those have been reported in the press.  In deference to those people who are retiring or leaving for other jobs, it would be up to them to make the announcement when they feel it is time.  Promotions, lateral moves and replacements will be announced to the members of the Senate as soon as a final decision is made.  When everything is settled with the 44 positions we reviewed at the senior staff level to take action on, I hope to have saved more than $1,000,000.