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MacNamara squares off with Senate veteran, Dennis Jones, over prison votes

mcnamara_headshot.jpgdennisjones.jpgGov. Rick Scott's chief of staff, Steve MacNamara (pictured, far right), has been around Tallahassee for a long time, and learned the art of horse-trading from one of the masters, legendary Senate powerbroker Dempsey Barron. MacNamara hoped to do a little horse-trading of his own, to pass a bill to privatize prisons in 18 counties -- but one of his targets, veteran Tampa Bay Sen. Dennis Jones (pictured, right), would not even meet with Scott to hear the governor's privatization pitch. Jones helped sink the privatization on a 21-19 Senate vote.

MacNamara is very displeased with Jones, and took the rare step of going public. "He (Jones) was not willing to listen and he was not willing to trade," MacNamara says. "Apparently, it's a one-way street."  

Jones asked Scott for a couple of favors. First, he wanted his son, Rod Jones, reappointed to the Board of Chiropractic Medicine (the son has taken over his father's chiropractic practice). Jones, who also holds a job at St. Pete College, also wanted four people reappointed to the college board of trustees. Scott did keep two of them, Deveron Gibbons and Ken Burke, and chose two newcomers -- both of whom Jones calls highly qualified.

On the day the controversial prison privatization bill was headed to the Senate floor, MacNamara asked to meet with Jones, but the senator said a call came an hour before the debate was to begin. Jones calls privatization of prisons "a kick in the teeth" to state workers who have gone for five years without a pay increase, and the day MacNamara asked for a meeting, Jones said no. "I said, there's no sense in wasting my time or the governor's time, and we're getting ready to go on the floor. And I would stand by that again today."

Says MacNamara: "The governor thought, 'Gosh, we've done him a favor, maybe he'll do us a favor,' because his requests were reasonable, and we thought our requests were reasonable ... He wasn't even willing to listen to us."

-- Steve Bousquet

Comments

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Johnny Hothead

Reasonable? If you compare the sheer numbers of people involved, there's no way the trade-off was "reasonable." This is about the governor going public in an effort to strong arm Sen. Jones into being another yea vote for his plan to privatize the prisons. Trouble is the governor can't count. The vote was 21-19 against privitizing them. Even if Jones switches, the issue still dies 20-20. That is, unless the governor tries to strong arm Sen. Bullard. Again. Get real, MacNamara, the issue is dead this year...

whasup

Johnny's pen last name says it all: "Hothead."

He's obviously just another labor union goon or petulant DOC bureaucrat spouting off and spewing verbal lava.

The Governor is trying to save us taxpayers some money.

But the the labor boys, their union bosses, and the prison bureaucrats want to keep as much of the good jobs and benefit deal they've got.

And that's even while more than 900,000 of their fellow Floridians can't even find a job--and yet must still pay the sales taxes that fund their prison-industrial-unionized-factory complex.

Johnny Hothead

I'm neither of those. Labor "Goon" hahahaha. Moron, you don't know what a goon is. And, you so funny. You can't even spell Whassup.

state pug

whasup maybe you didnt read but the correctional officer that go to work every day havent seen a pay raise in 6 years now and we were made to pay 3% into the FRS system which means we are now taking home less money then we were a couple years ago. the average officer makes only 32K a year and the benefits are not all the best seeing how we all walk into a dangerous situation everyday we got go work. We are not asking for anything special but when the govener senator and legislative branchs have seen payraises ever year and even given there friends nice high paying jobs maybe we have a right to be alittle hot. The C.O. ;s didnt create the 900k unemployed, which is actually higher if you check the other side of those that dont get unemployment anymore but still cant find jobs, we just dont think it is right that they goveror threatens fires or tries to strong arm everyone around him. besides maybe you should also take a look and see that the governor has ties to the private prisions he just switched them over to his wife so he can say he has no direct ties. in the DOC book even if your spouse has ties it would be considered inapproiate to do this, but because he is in a political position it suddenly became acceptiable.

state pug

Also that 3% we are being force to pay isnt even going into the FRS system it has been going elsewhere so the governor has been telling lies about several things.

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