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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott installs chief of staff as head of state Veterans Affairs



Gov. Rick Scott today named his chief of staff, Mike Prendergast, as executive director of Florida's Department of Veterans' Affairs.

We reported earlier this month that a shake-up could be in store for Scott's top-level staff. Asked about that on Thursday, Scott said he didn't know what "shake up" meant.

"I continue everyday to assess the people who work with me and what my needs are,'' Scott said.

The press release doesn't acknowledge the vacancy Prendergast leaves much less name a replacement.

Speculation has been that Scott's off-the-books adviser, Washington D.C. attorney Enu Mainigi, is pushing to hire Steve MacNamara, the chief of staff for Senate President Mike Haridopolos. But the Buzz is that MacNamara is now giving folks around the president's office the impression that he's not going anywhere.

"I talk to lots of people about different things,'' Scott said when asked if he'd talked with MacNamara about the job.

An internal option could be Scott's legislative affairs director, Hayden Dempsey. We asked Dempsey about that scenario and he said he'd like to help Scott however he could.

Here is the press release from Scott's office:

Governor Rick Scott today nominated Colonel Mike Prendergast, US Army (Retired), to take over as Executive Director of Florida’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  If confirmed by the full Cabinet, Prendergast, who is currently serving as the Governor’s Chief of Staff, would take over the agency immediately following a special cabinet meeting.

The agency has had an interim director since the late Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr. was killed in a bicycle accident last July.

Governor Scott said, “I can think of no better advocate on behalf of Florida’s 1.6 million veterans, their families and survivors, than Mike Prendergast.  His devotion to duty and commitment to our military men and women will be evident in the way he advocates for their health and economic well being.”

The Special Cabinet Meeting to vote on the nomination will be held at noon Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

“Mike committed to getting me through the first legislative session, and he did so with great success.  The team he led did a great job of laying the foundation for my 7-7-7 Jobs Plan,” said Governor Scott.  “I’m grateful for his leadership and I’m confident he will continue that in this new leadership role that I’ve asked him to assume.”


Colonel Mike Prendergast (US Army, retired), is a native of Tampa and a graduate of Clearwater Central Catholic High School.   His 31 years of distinguished active duty service as a Military Police Officer include multiple combat deployments in leadership positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as assignments in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Mike culminated his service to the nation with a tour at MacDill Air Force Base where he served on the staff of General Dave Petraeus as the U.S. Central Command Provost Marshal.  Mike retired from active duty on October 1, 2009.

Mike’s civilian education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree with Special Honors and a dual major in Political Science and Sociology from Jacksonville State University, a Master of Arts degree with a major in International Relations and a Certificate in African Studies from the University of Florida, a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Public Management from Troy University, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College.

Mike is a decorated Soldier, and his personal awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legion of Merit medals, the Bronze Star Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals, six Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, and multiple additional awards, badges, and citations presented for service and achievement.  Mike is a 2009 inductee into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA, and he is also a recipient of the Military Police Corps’ Order of the Marechaussee award in Silver for having had a significant impact on the Army’s Military Police Corps.

Mike and his wife, Naomi, have two grown children and four grandchildren.  The Prendergast’s son and son-in-law are both Operation Enduring Freedom veterans and continue to serve on active duty today.


The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (FDVA), on behalf of the Governor and Cabinet, is responsible for improving the health and economic well-being of Florida’s 1.6 million veterans.  The Executive Director oversees all department operations, actions and final determinations, as well as direct supervision and strategic direction of FDVA’s management team.  FDVA's Executive Director is the primary spokesman and advocate for the Agency and its constituency, a role which extends beyond State Government to various federal agencies and Florida's Congressional Delegation.  The Executive Director’s office identifies significant avenues through which Florida can facilitate receipt of Federal veteran related resources and acts on the State’s behalf.

[Last modified: Monday, June 20, 2011 5:09pm]


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