Sink won't demand regulator's ouster Tuesday
The Tuesday meeting of the governor and Cabinet promises to be livelier than usual, as it's their first session following news media revelations of people with criminal records being issued state licenses as mortgage brokers. On the hot seat is the state's top banking regulator, Don Saxon, head of the Office of Financial Regulation, who reports to the Cabinet. Saxon will appear early in the meeting "to address the issues that were brought up by the Miami Herald investigation," Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink told reporters Monday.
Sink has called for Saxon's resignation, but said she does not plan to make a motion to fire Saxon, a comment that suggested that Saxon has the votes to stay put or will determine his own fate. Sink said despite Saxon's strong reputation as a regulator, "other issues" involving OFR concern her, including a "damning report" by the statewide grand jury on state regulation of money-service businesses. "I just happen to believe it's time for new leadership there, and I've discussed it with him," Sink said. (To dismiss Saxon requires at least two others of the four-member body, including Gov. Charlie Crist).
Sink said Saxon "absolutely" had an obligation to alert his Cabinet bosses at the first sign of any trouble when the paper began asking questions and demanding records eight months ago. Sink said her first inkling came Thursday, July 17, three days before publication, when she was asked for comment. Saxon has issued a lengthy rebuttal to The Herald's findings and wrote an op-ed defending his agency's record in Sunday's Tallahassee Democrat, saying of the paper's reporting: "Nothing could be further from the truth."