Gov. Scott: Media being 'mean' to Steve MacNamara
Gov. Rick Scott chided reporters Monday for being "mean" to his chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, and pledged his loyalty to his top aide, saying he has done "a great job."
Without prompting from reporters, and apparently in response to a Times/Herald report on how MacNamara wields power, Scott said: "You guys are mean to poor Steve MacNamara. He's out there working his tail off and you guys write these mean things about him. You ought to think about that. We're getting a lot of good things done -- jobs are coming back, we've got a billion dollars for education, we got PIP done, and now you're being mean to my chief of staff."
MacNamara also was the subject of an Associated Press report that he steered a $360,000 no-bid contract to a friend while he was chief of staff to Senate President Mike Haridopolos, and a Miami Herald column called him Scott's "biggest failure," in part because of the fiasco that surrounded last week's signing of a bill cracking down on companies doing business with Cuba.
Asked to respond to the published comments of a former agency chief, Jack Miles, who said he resigned after meddling by MacNamara, Scott said: "I talk to agency heads. I spend as much time as I can but you know, Steve's the chief of staff. That's his job, to work with agency heads, and I think he's done a great job."
In an online column in the Sunshine State News published Monday, Nancy Smith wrote that the drumbeat of media criticism of MacNamara's performance amounts to a "warning shot" that Scott should heed -- by quickly showing MacNamara the door.
"He can pull a Charlie Crist and pledge loyalty and friendship to MacNamara to the bitter end," wrote Smith, who seldom praises the mainstream Tallahassee media. "Scott's better-by-far option is to point MacNamara toward the door (and) tell him to give up his $189,000-a-year salary."