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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

MacNamara made exception to 'approved travel' list for friend

When Gov. Rick Scott came to office, he adopted a policy for his agencies that required out of state travel to be “cost effective” and “have a direct and measurable benefit to getting Floridians back to work.”

It was a point that Scott’s chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, hammered home at staff meetings. It prompted the head of the Department of Economic Opportunity, Doug Darling, to compile a list of trips that had “true market impact and the best chance for success” and get MacNamara’s approval. Download DD Approval of OFE Bus Outreach 10-7-11

But MacNamara changed the rules for Shari Kerrigan, a lawyer and friend of MacNamara’s whom the governor appointed the state’s film commissioner in December.

A month on the job, she asked MacNamara to let her travel to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, even though the trip wasn’t on the list approved by MacNamara before Kerrigan had the job.Story here.

When Darling told Kerrigan she couldn’t go, “her reaction was unprofessional and abusive to staff,’’ he wrote in a Jan. 24 memo to MacNamara. “Without notifying either her direct supervisor or myself, she attended on her own. Unfortunately she did not notify us that she was attending and, to date, has not called. We only learned this by contacting her staff.”  Download DD Friday Meeting

Kerrigan took the trip to the world famous film festival, stayed three nights at the Zermatt Resort in Park City, Utah, and ended with a trip to Miami Beach for a meeting of television executives. The cost to taxpayers: $2,713. She then stayed four nights at The Raleigh in Miami Beach and spent $1,293 there, including $93 in “room service/mini bar charges,” according to her travel vouchers. Download 03.28.2012 -- Kerrigan travel expense request.redacted

[Last modified: Thursday, May 10, 2012 7:20pm]


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