« November 2010 | Main | January 2011 »

169 posts from December 2010

December 20, 2010

Staffing complete -- for Agriculture Commissioner-Elect Adam Putnam

Agriculture Commissioner-elect Adam Putnam will hire back all but about 15 of the 150 staff members he asked to resign from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said Putnam spokesman Trey McCarley.

Putnam will make the announcement official on Tuesday in a press release, McCarley said. Most of the senior administration staff of retiring Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson will be the ones who don't return, McCarley said, as Putnam brings in his own administrative team. Several of those people, however, were surprised at the abrupt nature of the resignation request. They were told to leave their jobs immediately in mid-November and use their leave time if they wanted to draw a pay check until the end of the year.

The list of those who have been re-hired by Putnam includes most of the division directors and their staff, McCarley said. With most of the staffing decisions done, Putnam will now focus on his swearing in and "getting to work on Jan. 5,'' McCarley said.

Scott asks 6 of Crist's agency secretaries to stay on job to buy him time

Gov.-elect Rick Scott is revoking the pink slips for at least six of Gov. Charlie Crist's department heads and at least 400 other mid to upper-level managers while he takes his time to staff up for his new administration, according to a list released by the Scott transition team Monday. Download Scott staff list 121810

Among those asked to stay on board for 60 to 90 days is Department of Children and Families secretary George Sheldon, Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil, Agency for Workforce Innovation director Cynthia Lorenzo, Department of Business & Professional Regulation Secretary Charlie Liem, Agency for Persons with Disabilities Secretary Jim DeBeaugrine and Elder Affairs Interim Secretary Charles T. (Chuck) Corley.

Gone are the secretaries for the Departments of Juvenile Justice (Frank Peterman), the Department of the Lottery (Leo DiBenigno), Department of Community Affairs (Tom Pelham), Department of Health (Ana Viamonte Ros), Department of Management Services (Linda South), and Department of State (Dawn Roberts.)

Continue reading "Scott asks 6 of Crist's agency secretaries to stay on job to buy him time " »

Dems detail other governors 'getting to work' ahead of Rick Scott

The Florida Democratic Party sent out a few notes this morning noting that, in contrast to Florida's incoming Gov. Rick Scott, Repubilican and Democratic governors around the country have started to hire their administration. Scott sent e-mails Friday evening to much of Gov. Charlie Crist's administration Friday asking them to stay on board for up to three months, which means Scott might not have his own team in place until the middle of the spring legislative session.

"Rick Scott must be too busy selling the Governor's office to the highest bidder to pay for his out-of-touch inaugural parties since he clearly isn't focused on building his administration," Democratic party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said.

(Scott has raised $2 million to celebrate his inauguration. Another contribution report could be out today, but we're waiting to hear back from his inauguration spokeswoman.)

Here are some of the stories Jotkoff tagged:

Continue reading "Dems detail other governors 'getting to work' ahead of Rick Scott" »

Boosting Florida's clout

Florida may pick up as many as two more seats in the U.S. House -- further boosting the state's influence in Congress and making it an even bigger prize in the race for the White House.

Though the actual increase in seats won't be known until Tuesday, early projections suggest Florida is a lock for one seat, and in contention for a second. The creation of seats based on new census data is always a messy political and legal fight in Florida and its likely to be further complicated this time around by two voter-approved state constitutional amendments. The addition of two seats would bring the state's total number in the U.S. House of Representatives to 27. It would also boost Florida's Electoral College votes to 29.

"Two seats would be like both LeBron James and Chris Bosh,'' said state Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, the top Democrat on one of the legislative committees that will handle redistricting.

December 18, 2010

Vote on repealing ban on gays in the military advances in the Senate; Bill Nelson in favor; George LeMieux opposed

The push to repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy just cleared a major hurdle with 63 senators -- including Bill Nelson -- voting in favor.

The measure now just needs a simple majority to clear the Senate.

Dream Act fails in the U.S. Senate with George LeMieux voting against; Bill Nelson voting in favor

The Senate just shot down a measure aimed at helping put children of illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship. Florida Dem Bill Nelson voted for the measure; Republican George LeMieux -- whom activists had targeted -- voted no.

It needed 60 votes to survive -- but fell 5 votes shy. Strategists say the measure is likely dead for at least two years with Republicans in control of the U.S. House.

Eligible students watched the proceedings from the Senate gallery and at debate-watching parties across the country. Crushed advocates vowed not to forget the vote:

"To the majority of Republicans and the handful of Democrats who voted against the best and the brightest of the Latino immigrant community, your vote against DREAM will be remembered as long as you are in politics," said Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice. "Many of you have expressed your sympathy for the DREAMers. But today we did not need your sympathy. We needed your vote."

Continue reading "Dream Act fails in the U.S. Senate with George LeMieux voting against; Bill Nelson voting in favor" »

Top Scott adviser under the microscope as transition extended three months

Lacking a single hire to staff Florida's government, incoming Gov. Rick Scott on Friday asked most of Gov. Charlie Crist's administration to rescind their resignations and stay on board for up to three months.

The about-face leaves in place agency heads and mid-level staffers from an administration Scott repeatedly criticized from the campaign trail as unresponsive to private business and ill-equipped to foster job growth. Scott's transition team initially asked for hundreds of resignations, more than Crist did when he succeeded former Gov. Jeb Bush.

And it's the first public indication from Scott's secretive team of a transition clogged under the leadership of Enu Mainigi, his personal attorney and most important hire to date.

Story here.

December 17, 2010

David Rivera appointed to foreign relations

Congressman-elect David Rivera, doing some damage control on Spanish-language radio Friday evening after our story this morning regarding his ties to a secret gambling deal, announced he was appointed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rivera said he will be an ardent supporter of fellow Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the incoming chair of the influential committee.

David Rivera, on radio, calls Herald story a lie. But did he read it?

Congressman-elect David Rivera went on a previously scheduled Spanish-language radio program Friday evening and inevitably had to talk about a Miami Herald story linking him to a secret gambling deal during his tenure in the Florida House.

In a softball interview -- more like a platform for Rivera to discuss his views on U.S. policy toward Cuba -- on Radio Mambi's La Mesa Redonda with Armando Pérez Roura, Rivera accused The Herald of lying. He claimed Friday's story said the owners of the Flagler Dog Track hired him and paid him to help run a political campaign backed by the track to win voter approval for Las Vegas-style slot machines at parimutuel venues in Miami-Dade County.

"It's completely false," Rivera said.

The thing is, the story explained the dog track -- now called the Magic City Casino -- made $510,000 in payments to Millennium Marketing, a company currently co-managed by Rivera's 70-year-old mother, Daisy Magarino, and his godmother, Ileana Medina. Investigators are still trying to determine if Rivera himself received any of the money, or if anything about the transaction was illegal, according to sources close to the inquiry.

Continue reading "David Rivera, on radio, calls Herald story a lie. But did he read it?" »

A Dean Cannon Christmas

So it's not quite a naughty-and-nice list, but here's House Speaker Dean Cannon's picks for his committees

Download Cannon1

Download Cannon2