After Stormy Session, Florida Governor's Advisers Depart
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
On Sunday (June 19), The Herald kicked off a series of stories examining the circle of advisers that most influences Scott, the Tea Party-backed governor who took over control of the nation's fourth most-populous state six months ago. The series began with a profile of Mary Anne Carter , Scott's chief policy adviser, whom the article described as "the most powerful person you've never heard of in Florida's government."
"Carter and Scott," the paper noted, "make a formidable team of outsiders — she's a Tennessee resident with little government experience — that has tilted an already business-friendly state further in favor of its corporate residents."
By Tuesday (June 21), however, Carter was gone. The adviser submitted her resignation and announced that she will be returning to Tennessee at the end of the month. "I'll stay in close touch with the governor and continue to help any way I can," she said, according to a short follow-up story in The Herald . "But I'm going to do other things as well and spend as much time with my family as I can."
Carter's departure is the second major change to hit Scott's team in recent days. The governor also reassigned his chief of staff, Mike Prendergast, to the state Department of Veterans Affairs, naming a replacement who now serves as the top staffer for the Florida Senate president. The replacement, Steve MacNamara, is a Tallahassee insider with years of experience in Florida politics.
Though a Scott spokesman cautioned against reading too much into the changes, the staff shakeup comes after a rocky legislative session that saw the governor clash early and often with his own Republican Party, which controls both houses of the Legislature. Scott, for instance, called for billions of dollars of tax cuts that legislative leaders said the state could not afford. After the session, he vetoed scores of pet projects, angering many lawmakers.
The Palm Beach Post hinted that Scott's choice of MacNamara as chief of staff could signal an attempt to thaw relations with the Legislature and, in the process, improve the governor's poor job approval ratings. "MacNamara is not known as a garrulous backslapper, nor does his career include marshaling a statewide message for a politician," the paper reported . "But he has powerful ties with a Legislature whose Republican leaders have been bruised by the governor's abruptness."