Seems as soon as Rick Scott is reelected and sworn into office for a second term as governor of our fine state his fellow elected Republicans are distancing themselves from his inner circle.
Problems in the Department of Corrections (prison system), problems in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, problems with electing the head of the state Republican Party and problems with general support from members of the legislature seem to be plaguing the governor.
The governor has big plans that are reaching across the aisle and have many Democrats pleased with such items as increased educational funding.
Unfortunately, the governor still has an apparent problem with transparency. His words and his actions don’t always come out the same. I sincerely hope that he isn’t making all his funding proposals for good publicity knowing that the legislature, controlled by conservatives, will not provide the necessary funding.
It is evident that the governor is having problems within his party. The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) recently elected its new head overriding the governor’s favored nominee. Normally, the party would support the recommendation of the governor out of respect for the office as well as keeping the wheels of the party moving smoothly through the legislative process. But this was not the case.
Recently, the head of Florida Law Enforcement, Gerald Bailey, unexpectedly resigned from his appointed position. When in fact he was forced out, or, better said, fired by the governor. Scott who bluntly stated Bailey resigned his position was forced to confess that Bailey was fired by his orders. Cabinet members Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putman were caught off guard thinking that Bailey had resigned. Bailey, who was doing a commendable job and was well respected by the Cabinet and the community, is out and complaining to the press. This unexpected act by the governor put the Cabinet members in an embarrassing position.
Prisoner abuse in Florida’s jails has resulted recently in the unwarranted deaths of a number of prisoners which has caused a great deal of grief for family members of the abused, embarrassment for the state and the evident lack of leadership in Tallahassee in remedying the problem.
The governor appointed a high level inquiry board to get to the bottom of the situation and make recommendations to turn the handling of prisoner treatment around. The committee composed unfortunately, like Scott’s appointment of a similar committee to investigate nursing home treatment, is, in my opinion, biased. The legislature, fearing no action from the governor, has appointed a like committee to dig into the problem and come up with their “independent” solutions.
The governor of Florida was reelected by a majority of the voters voting in last November’s elections. He is obviously the people’s choice to lead our state for the next four years. It is incumbent upon the governor to work harmoniously with the members of our legislature or nothing will be accomplished not withstanding that they all, governor and most legislators, are members of the same political party.
Something is wrong. The governor has been accused repeatedly in the press by complaining legislators and administrative officers as not telling the whole story until forced to do so as in the case of the Florida Law Enforcement dilemma.
Transparency is the key word, Governor. It is Florida’s business, the business of the residents of our state, not the private domain of the state capital. Tell it like it is, Governor.
We are grownups. We can handle the truth. The sooner the truth is out the sooner the problem is resolved. We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Send your comments to (fax number) 305-662-6980 or email to Kenneth.Bluh@ColumbusCL.com. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.