Rick Scott silent on other surgeon general applicants
Last week, Gov. Rick Scott announced interim state surgeon general Dr. Celeste Philip would take on the job full-time, but he and his office won't say whether they sought other applications for the job.
Asked whether he considered other candidates, Scott did not directly answer the question in a conversation with reporters Tuesday.
"Dr. Phillips has done a great job at the Department of Health, and she did a great job there while John Armstrong was there," Scott said. "And so I appointed her the interim when John left, and she's done a great job."
The Times/Herald asked his spokespeople the same question last week, and they have not responded with an answer.
Scott can hire anyone who meets basic requirements -- like being a medical doctor with public health experience -- as surgeon general and secretary of DOH, and there is no public component of the hiring process. The Senate has final confirmation authority and must act on Philip's appointment by the end of the 2018 legislativsession.
Philip was an internal hire, previously the deputy secretary of health responsible for Children's Medical Services, as well as HIV and other communicable diseases -- both areas about which senators raised questions in Armstrong's confirmation hearings.
She became interim surgeon general March 11 at the end of the legislative session after Armstrong was not confirmed for the job, and she was acting surgeon general last fall when Armstrong took time off to undergo treatment for colon cancer.
Miami Herald staff writer Patricia Mazzei contributed to this report.