The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Movers and Shakers: Gov. Rick Scott adds a new lawyer

13

June

Gov. Rick Scott has added attorney Michael Sevi to his general counsel's office. Sevi left his job at Tampa's DLA Piper LLP for the $80,000/year assistant general counsel gig, which he started in late May. The North Miami Beach native previously worked as an associate at Hogan Lovells LLP in Washington, D.C., concentrating on civil litigation, internal investigations and corporate compliance. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

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After more than a dozen years, powerhouse lobbyist and Republican fundraiser Brian Ballard and his father-in-law, former Attorney General Jim Smith, are parting ways. The firm of Smith & Ballard will now be called Ballard Partners, and Smith plans to open his own lobbying practice.

Ballard and his wife, Kathryn, co-chaired Scott's inauguration. He was a leading fundraiser for former Gov. Charlie Crist in 2006 and a prominent member of Arizona Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. Smith is a former secretary of state.

When it came to politics, Ballard and Smith did not always agree. It was no secret that Smith lacked Ballard's enthusiasm for Scott's candidacy for governor in 2010.

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Renai Farmer left her position as staff director in the Senate MInority Office for the same job in the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee. She started last week. Farmer replaces Terry Walsh, who moved to North Carolina after 25 years of working for state government, including three legislative sessions.

“While I know Leader Rich and the other members of the Democratic Caucus will miss Renai in her current role, she’ll be a great asset to this very important committee,” Senate President Mike Haridopolos said in a statement.

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Joe Jacquot, former Attorney General Bill McCollum's chief of staff and deputy attorney general, is the new senior vice president of government affairs at Lender Processing Services. The company bills itself as "a leading provider of integrated technology, data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries." Jacquot, a University of Florida College of Law alumnus, previously worked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as deputy chief counsel and managed the Supreme Court confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, according to the Lender release.

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Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida President Ed Moore recently joined the Board of Trustees of the Florida House in Washington D.C. Before joining ICUF, Moore worked as a senior staffer in the Florida House of Representatives. He was also a member of Gov. Rick Scott’s education transition team.

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Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike McCalister, is beefing up his campaign team in a Senate race against George LeMieux, Haridopolos and Adam Hasner, POLITICO reported this morning. The retired colonel added John Yob, who worked for Nevada's 2010 Senate candidate Sharron Angle and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, as a top adviser. He also tapped Buzz Jacobs, McCain's South Carolina state director, for direct mail and fundraising, according to the story.

Times/Herald staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this week's round-up. Send personnel items to ksanders [at] sptimes [dot] com or via @katielsanders on Twitter.

[Last modified: Monday, June 13, 2011 5:00pm]

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