Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is continuing the removal of numerous appointments made by his predecessor Rick Scott, a fellow Republican who is now representing the state as a U.S. senator.
“Some appointments started just days ago,” Florida Politics reported. “Others were reappointments for those with years of service. But all now will need an appointment from the new governor, regardless of their standing with the former one.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the DeSantis administration did not appreciate the former governor’s decision to make 84 appointments to boards and committees just before leaving office.
Prior to his inauguration, DeSantis said he would “definitely rescind” some of Scott’s “lame duck appointments” in order to review them.
The Times also observed:
Behind the scenes, Scott’s handiwork received a cooler reception. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican who served as a co-chair on DeSantis’ transition team, said the team was “frequently frustrated” with Scott. Gaetz said he was personally “put off” by Scott’s flurry of last-minute appointments.
“When he stood up [to leave during DeSantis’ inaugural ceremony] I was wondering if he was running back to the office to make nine or 10 more appointments,” Gaetz said.
“He should pull back every single appointment,” Gaetz said. “That’s the advice I gave him.”
On Friday, DeSantis retracted 169 appointments made by Scott during his term after having pulled 45 others last month, WCTV reported.
The latest group of pulled appointments include members of the state Commission on Ethics and numerous trustees to Florida state universities and state and community colleges.
According to the news report, DeSantis announced his latest retractions in a letter to Senate President Bill Galvano because the appointments had all required confirmation by the state senate.
In January, the Republican governor called for the resignations of all members of the South Florida Water Management District governing board. Then, on Friday, DeSantis continued with retractions of appointments to other water management district governing boards throughout the state.
Among those who lost their appointments is Matthew Caldwell, president of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, who was appointed by Scott to the Broward College Board of Trustees.
Former Republican state House member Tom Grady was also removed from the Investment Advisory Council, which oversees state investments. DeSantis had previously removed Grady from the State Board of Education in January as well.
According to the Times, Grady was also “a consistent voice of support for the accountability system begun under former Gov. Jeb Bush.”
Grady was a favorite of Scott, serving as head of the state Office of Financial Regulation in 2011 and interim president of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in 2012. Scott appointed Grady to the Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees in 2014, the state Board of Education in 2015, and the Constitution Revision Commission in 2017.
Scott also appointed Andrew Pollack, the father of slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Meadow Pollack to the State Board of Education, reported the Times.
At the end of January, DeSantis made headlines when he issued an executive order to eliminate the Common Core State Standards, rebranded as the Florida Standards.
The governor also called for a return to civics education as a priority focus in his state.
“You really need to understand what makes America the country it is,” DeSantis said, adding:
We’re not a country where everyone has the same religious denomination or the same ethnic heritage. What unites, or what’s supposed to, is the ideas and certain principles that the country was founded on, that you see reflected in the Constitution, that have really been the focal points for a lot of the great debates we’ve had in the country’s history.
“I think it’s important that when we’re sending some of these students out, they’re not only prepared for a career or for higher education, they’re prepared to discharge the duties of citizenship,” the governor said.