Saturday, April 30, 2016

Meanwhile On the Soap Opera "As the Florida Churns" A Tense Meeting Goes Full Schadenfreude

This sort of slipped under the radar, but here in Florida things are not well for the King of Unethical Douchebaggery Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott.

One of the things Scott has been doing throughout his two terms has been to drive out long-time heads of the various state agencies to replace them with his own people. Whether or not Scott's people are/were qualified and able to do those jobs were not really relevant to him.

But this past year, Scott ran into conflict with his own party and the other Republicans in the governor's Cabinet. In particular, Scott's attempt to replace the chief Insurance Commissioner with his buddy Jeffrey Bragg conflicted with Chief Financial Officer (think Secretary of the Treasury) Jeff Atwater's own nominee for that post. And the CFO is the one who has direct control over the office, so Atwater has a kind of veto power over what Scott was trying to do. Scott, as governor, had veto power of Atwater's chance to put HIS guy in that office. Standoff.

So they went through the hassle of having a public review process, interviewing a set of candidates including Scott's choice and Atwater's choice. Once they finished the interviews, Scott just... well, I'll let Tampa Bay Times' John Romano describe it:

In a second attempt at hiring a state insurance commissioner, the Cabinet listened to four candidates speak for a little more than an hour on Tuesday.
When the interviews were wrapped up, Gov. Rick Scott took a few moments to thank all of the candidates, and then immediately launched into a prepared statement that nominated Jeffrey Bragg for the post.
"Is there a second?" Scott asked the other three Cabinet members.
1, 2, 3 …
Scott turns to his left to look at Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who, like the governor, has to affirm the selection of a new insurance boss. Atwater, avoiding eye contact, looks straight ahead.
The beauty of this exchange is that it has been a month in the making. Four weeks earlier, Atwater had moved to appoint Bill Hager as the new commissioner and Scott immediately shot it down by saying he would not second the nomination. He wanted Bragg.
So, presumably, the four Cabinet members spent the next month looking at new candidates and reassessing Bragg and Hager. But Scott's immediate nomination of Bragg on Tuesday made it clear he expected Atwater to simply bow to his demand.
There was no discussion. No give and take. No pretense of esprit de corps.
4, 5, 6 …
Scott straightens in his chair. Then he reaches for a bottle of water.
By now, the governor must already know his ploy has failed. And the realization has to be dawning that the titular leader of the GOP in Florida, who has already been dissed by a Republican-dominated Legislature on his budget demands, is now being ignored by an all-Republican Cabinet.
7, 8, 9, 10 …

You should read Romano's article, I'm just posting the juicy, sweet early part of it as setup.

Just to note, I've been on committees, and usually most groups are already in agreement on a few issues, and then it's just the nuts-and-bolts disagreements that get argued out, and then a decision is informally recognized, and then there's a call on a vote and a request for a Second. And getting that "I Second It" is a pro forma thing, everyone's mostly good with it, there may be a few dissenters but at least the issue was argued in good faith and done.

Scott didn't even have a give-and-take talk. He wanted the vote then and there and on his terms. That's not how the Force decision-making in a committee works.

Just to add this one more thought Romano puts out there, which I totally agree with:

What's amazing is, six years into the job, Scott still does not understand the art of governing. He has a receptive audience in both the Legislature and the Cabinet, but he sabotages his own cause with edicts and commands.

That is the problem when you put a crook like Rick "No Ethics" Scott in charge of something. He takes on the CEO mindset of "my way or the highway" and eventually finds out that kind of mindset does not sit well with other people who have the power to do their own thing in spite of him.

Sweet, sweet Schadenfreude. I hope the rot boils in Scott's stomach for 1000 years.

According to a follow-up report I found in the Miami New Times, the cabinet finally settled on a compromise candidate, as these things usually play out.

And I'm willing to bet Scott still hasn't learned a lesson. He's probably just thinking up how to get some revenge on Atwater for the public humiliation.

I'd love to see how Scott handles a potential Florida Legislature where the state Senate is under Democratic control thanks to the voting districts being redrawn to weaken the gerrymanders. One can hope. One can definitely keep calling on the Democrats to challenge every district and GET THE DAMN VOTE OUT.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

Molly Ivins said that guys who have made a lot of money in business have a real hard time working in a system of checks and balances.

-Doug in Oakland