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MacNamara draws ethics complaint; rumor mill says Hollingsworth to replace him

A state ethics complaint filed this week against Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff Steve MacNamara alleges he used state employees to help him seek a college president's job in Montana.

The complaint comes at a time when MacNamara has drawn media scrutiny for steering contracts to friends or associates and getting involved in personnel matters. He and Scott are scheduled to meet over the weekend to talk about MacNamara's future.

"We'll see what happens,'' said MacNamara."I'm going to do what the governor wants me to do."

Scott hired MacNamara in July 2011 to the $189,000-a-year job after a blistering first six months of low poll ratings and icy relationships with lawmakers. MacNamara had planned to stay on the job at least a year but this week said the media attention could hasten his departure.

The governor's supporters have discussed a replacement for MacNamara for some time. On Friday, Jacksonville political consultant Adam Hollingsworth's name surfaced as a likely replacement. He was an early supporter of Scott's and a one-time chief of staff of former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. He writes an enthusiastic blog, DadsonDefense, about being the father of two small children and he is close to Scott's former campaign manager Susie Wiles.

The Florida Commission on Ethics received the complaint Thursday from Trent Barrett, of Clearwater. He included copies of a series of emails -- all from October 2011 -- that were sent from MacNamara's state email account to a woman heading up the presidential search for Carroll College in Montana.

"Taxpayer resources and personnel being put to work on someone''s private job application strikes me as improper and possibly illegal,'' Barrett wrote in his complaint.

MacNamara had been planning to move to Montana later this year after his wife, a doctor, finished her residency in anesthesiology. The couple owns property in northwestern Montana. MacNamara's wife, Liberty Taylor, has since found a job in Vermont.

"This is just a quick note regarding the Presidential Search for Carroll College," MacNamara wrote on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5:44 p.m. He said he had just learned of the opening and asked if he might "be a good fit for the position."

He attached his resume but noted that it had not been updated to include his work as chief of staff for Senate President Mike Haridopolos or chief of staff to the governor. Emails obtained separately by the Herald/Times show that the following week MacNamara asked his staff to help him update the resume.

Laurie O'Brien, program assistant in the executive office of the governor, wrote: "Edited tense and some spacing. Content looks great-puts ours to shame." She signed it: "Laurie, Emily, and Kim."

MacNamara replied: "Thanks to everyone." Read more here.