Times editorial: Florida needs a new surgeon general
An editorial in the Tampa Bay Times this morning said that Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong should be replaced. Senate confirmation of Armstrong has been wavering all session.
There is no reason the Florida Senate should confirm Dr. John Armstrong as the state's surgeon general. As disappointing as the rejection would be for this former Army surgeon and the person who appointed him, Gov. Rick Scott, Armstrong has not demonstrated the independence or urgency needed in this position. Florida's Department of Health needs a new, permanent leader who has the confidence of the legislative branch and the public - and the governor needs to get the message that the state's chief health advocate works for all Floridians.
Senators again postponed a confirmation vote this week, in what may have been Armstrong's last chance to keep his job. With no more meetings scheduled of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee before the session's scheduled end March 11, it would take a change of heart by one of Armstrong's Senate opponents or an extraordinary move by the chamber's leadership to get the confirmation on track. Neither should happen.