He hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and already Rick Scott’s administration is stalled. The so-called “outsider” with a huge transition team made up of lobbyists and “insiders” who aren’t even operating in Tallahassee, but far from the eyes of voters and the press has run into a major snag.
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.
Ouch. Add to that, if Mainigi is his best and brightest, well that’s not looking good either. She doesn’t exactly sound like someone who inspires confidence.
She acknowledges Scott’s administration is well behind the pace set by the previous two governors. She has heard complaints that she’s the de facto gatekeeper to Scott and that “we don’t know what we don’t know.”
“Maybe that’s true,” Mainigi said. “Maybe there are things that we don’t know. We’ll learn them as we need to learn them.”
Call me crazy, but I think running a state the size of Florida is not the venue for on the job training.
Mainigi is Scott’s personal attorney, a family friend and the one who insisted Scott not release the infamous deposition in the civil suit against the company Scott founded. She’s rumored to have had clashes with and been criticized by others in the transition team, and reasons that operating away from the Capitol allows her to avoid distractions brought on by those rumors. Among the rumors is that others in the transition team are afraid of her.
The nationwide search for job candidates met with little success, leading to the problems with those who Scott had already asked to resign.
With the holidays approaching, Scott’s team started sending letters Friday evening to Crist’s administration letting them know if they would be retained for three months or if their resignations had been accepted.
Now there’s an awkward way of “doing business.” Employee morale at Scott’s companies must be something. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to be asked to crawl back when summoned like that?
As for that slow hiring process:
Even Scott’s supporters worry he’ll be hurt by the slow pace.
“We’re dealing with an individual who has very little government experience, state government experience or relationships with people throughout state government,” said Dominic Calabro, head of Florida TaxWatch, a business-backed nonprofit. “You can consider this good and bad.”
That sure sounds familiar. I believe many said that about Scott during the campaign. Who could have possibly predicted….? Also, where is the “good” in that exactly?
Mainigi said Floridians care about Scott’s agenda, not the date his administration is put into place. “Four months from now, five months from now, no one is going to remember,” she said. “No one is going to care.
Don’t count on it. Most Floridians don’t even know what Scott’s agenda IS since he only discusses it behind closed doors with business members and no press. But if his agenda is anything like what we hear from the little bits leaking out here and there, Floridians are going to care a lot, and they’re not going to like it.
In the meantime, he and his team could be spending a little less time and a little less of those millions on Scott’s upcoming “coronation” and more time figuring out how to hire people who know what they’re doing. Then they need to figure out how to run the state.
Florida is already in dire straights, and it’s going to take a lot more than photo ops from the road, video crews filming Scott’s “around the state tour” and slogans to fix it.
“Let’s Get To Work” as messaging only isn’t going to do it.