Florida Gov. reappoints top posts after abrupt session end

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott was forced on Monday to reappoint more than a dozen top state officials to their jobs after they were passed over for confirmation by the Florida Senate.

This year’s session ended acrimoniously last week as the Senate and the House were unable to reach an accord on a new state budget because of a stalemate over health care. Scott has backed the House in the dispute with the Senate about whether the state should accept billions in federal aid to expand health care coverage to 800,000 low-income Floridians.

As the 60-day session wore on, numerous clashes occurred between state senators and several agency heads – including the state’s top elections official and the head of agency that oversees Medicaid spending.

Senate President Andy Gardiner said that the confirmation process “should be more than a simple rubber stamp.” He said in a statement Monday that toward the end of the session he had heard from many senators “who were not satisfied with some of the answers” they had received from Scott administration appointees.

“The statutes allow for appointees to continue serving pending confirmation without impacting their authority to manage an agency,” Gardiner said. “Therefore, I believe the Senate has time and should do its due diligence and thoroughly vet each appointee before confirmation.”

State law requires anyone not voted on by the Florida Senate to step down from their job within 45 days unless they are reappointed by the governor. If the Senate fails to vote on an agency head a second time, they are required to leave their job.

Scott reappointed people holding spots in 14 state agencies, including the heads of the Department of Health, the Department of Corrections and the Agency for Health Care Administration. The list also included Secretary of State Ken Detzner, whose office oversees the state division of elections. Detzner drew the ire of senators when he testified in opposition to a bill calling for online voter registration.

The governor is also asking the Cabinet to vote to reappoint the two people already in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The Senate did not confirm FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen or DEP Secretary Jonathan Steverson. The Cabinet, which consists of three elected officials, is expected to vote Tuesday on the appointments.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.