Jimmy Patronis sworn in as Florida's new chief financial officer
TALLAHASSEE -- Jimmy Patronis took the oath of office Friday morning as Florida's new chief financial officer in Gov. Rick Scott's Capitol office. As Scott looked on, Chief Justice Jorge Labarga of the Florida Supreme Court administered the oath of office.
Calling the appointment "an incredible honor," Patronis, 45, was accompanied by his wife, Katie, and their two sons, Theo and Johnny. A Panama City restaurateur, former Republican state House member and former member of the Public Service Commission, Patronis becomes the state's fourth CFO. He succeeds Jeff Atwater, who resigned after six-and-a-half years in office to take a senior administrative position at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
"I really look forward to being effective and efficient and keeping up the same standards and values that CFO Atwater has brought to the job," Patronis said. "Greater transparency, greater efficiency and attacking fraud in our insurance and just doing what (I) can to ensure that the economy and transparency of our state grows."
Patronis did not offer an opinion on the performance so far of state Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier: "That is something I'll get caught up to speed on," he said. He did not say whether he plans any high-level staffing changes, but described the cooperation from Atwater's staff as "incredible." Patronis' first Cabinet meeting will be Aug. 16.
Patronis will serve through the November 2018 electio,n when voters will elect a new CFO. He has not yet indicated whether he plans to see a full four-year term. Though he has no experience as CFO and virtually no statewide name recognition, he instantly becomes the front-runner for the job and will reap the benefits of his close alliance with Scott.
"I believe you made a fantastic choice," Atwater told Scott. "This is a man of intellectual strength, curiosity and a passion for this state."
As the swearing-in ended, Patronis, known for his loyalty to Florida State University, said, "The Cabinet's going to have a Seminole. I'm married to a Gator, though."
More than two dozen friends were on hand for the ceremony, including former Republican state Rep. Jim Frishe of Pinellas Park, who served with Patronis for six years in the state House of Representatives.
A second and more elaborate swearing-in followed at the memorial for fallen firefighters in the Capitol courtyard. Patronis took the oath of office as state fire marshal and fire chiefs thanked Atwater for his loyal support of the fire service and gave him a commemmorative chief's helmet as a going-away present.
The chief financial officer is one of three members of the Florida Cabinet and is paid about $129,000 a year. The CFO oversees a staff of about 2,000 full-time employees and a budget of nearly $300 million.