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Movers and Shakers: BOG names new member, Tallahassee Democrat loses capital reporter

A lot went on this session. Between redistricting, charter schools and twice a day to-go orders at Sharkeys Café, it’s been tough to keep up.

Here’s a reminder of some major players who came and went since the last Movers and Shakers.

The dozens of lawmaker goodbye speeches on the waning days of session may now be little more than a blur. That’s because the Legislature lost 11 senators and 12 representatives. That’s 18 Republicans and five Democrats who won’t be back next year.

The month has also seen other critical personnel changes.

Tallahassee Democrat journalist Bill Cotterell, who has covered the capital for 42 years, is expected to retire April 15. But like Tampa Bay Times’ Senior Correspondent Lucy Morgan, he says, he doesn't want to ever leave the field completely.

“I’m talking to the other news services to see if they need a stringer,” he said. “It’s fun, it’s a nice way to pass the day, always something new and different and entertaining.”

Cotterell said The Democrat is likely to fill his position, but he doesn’t know who that replacement might be or when the position would be filled.

New appointment to the BOG

Gov. Rick Scott appointed Matthew Carter to the Board of Governors of the State University System Monday.

Carter has been a senior staff director in the Florida Senate since 2010.  Previously, he served on the Public Service Commission, the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida Department of Management Services, the Florida Department of Insurance, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Florida Department of Business Regulation.

Carter served in the United States Army, both active and reserve duty, from 1971 to 1974 and 1978 to 1983. He earned an associate degree from Tallahassee Community College, bachelor’s and law degrees from Florida State University and a doctoral degree from Gulf Coast College and Seminary. He succeeds Frank Martin. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Interim director takes over for as Surgeon General

Dr. Steven Harris is the new interim director of the Florida Department of Health. He took the position after the resignation of former Surgeon General Dr. Frank Farmer, whose wife Peggy has breast cancer.
Harris joined the DOH in Aug of 2011 after 31 years of clinical experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Previously, he was the health officer and medical director for the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department in Texas.

He has served as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention country director in Haiti for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he was given the Distinguished Honor Award for emergency medicine from the U.S. Secretary of State. Scott's top lawyer resigns.

Gov. Rick Scott gets new top lawyer

Jesse Panuccio is now Gov. Rick Scott’s top lawyer after the resignation of General Counsel Charles Trippe Jr. The resignation also means Trippe is no longer general counsel for the state employee drug testing suit.

Jack Miles resigns as secretary of the Department of Management Services

Jack Miles, the secretary of the Department of Management Services, will be leaving his $140,000 per-year position on March 31. He was brought in initially as part of a bid by Scott and his advisers to hire people outside of state government.

Miles oversaw the department that acts as the administrative arm of state government dealing with everything from state buildings to health insurance for state workers. While in office, he negotiated changes to the health insurance contracts that are projected to save the state $400 million over a two-year period.

It’s unclear who will replace him, DMS says.

Two appointed to Florida Elections Commission

Alia Faraj and Sean S. Hall were appointed to the Florida Elections Commission.

Faraj has been a partner and executive vice president of Ron Sachs Communications since 2007 and was communications director for Gov. Jeb Bush and for the Florida Department of Community Affairs and the Florida Department of Children and Families.  She's a Florida State University graduate.

Hall has been an executive business development manager and national sales manager for Panasonic Computer Solutions Co. since 2003. An Army veteran, he has also been a manager with Exabyte Corp., Pomeroy Computer Resources and Ikon Office Solutions. He's a founding member of the Political Leadership Institute and a graduate of the University of North Florida. He succeeds Jose Rodriguez.

In the meantime, dozens of people would like to be moving and shaking, but are still in limbo because of the Senate’s failure to confirm about 400 appointments made by Gov. Rick Scott. 

Send news about personnel changes to Times/Herald reporter Brittany Alana Davis at