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Robert Trigaux

Florida 'job czars' can't hold their own jobs: Who's in charge here?



huntingdeutschexfldeochief.jpgWake up and good morning. Does anybody else think Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a vetting problem when picking senior staff for state government positions? Looking at the track record of folks named to head the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity -- allegedly one of the key positions to help generate jobs in Florida -- you have to wonder if Scott's picking the right people who (1) have staying power, (2) understand state government is not simply another private executive position and (3) do not skeletons in their closet that will get them in trouble when exposed by the press.

And at the end of the day, is this recent track record of naming such people to government posts a reflection of weak leadership by the governor himself. Surrounding yourself with business folks who sign up to run a state department only stumble out the door soon thereafter is hardly a way to set the Florida economy back on its feet.

Who's picking these guys, anyway?

Case in point: Hunting Deutsch (photo above, left), named only this past April to head the Florida DEO. Now gone. Stated Scott in April: "I am committed to making Florida the number one state in the nation in job creation. Hunting has a strong and experienced background and I am confident he will do a great job as the head of DEO."

Result? Deutsch abruptly resigned this week after it was disclosed he collected unemployment benefits while traveling with his wife in Europe before he was hired. Read more here.

dougdarlingexfldeochief.jpgAnd before Deutsch's ill-fated arrival, we had Doug Darling (photo, right), "The Department of Economic Opportunity with Doug Darling at the helm will help our state create jobs for Floridians." That's what Scott said in July 2011 when appointing Darling to that position.

Result? Darling was gone in early 2012, resigning in the wake of reports that the DEO and other state agencies had doled out millions in taxpayer incentives to business in Florida to create jobs but many of those companies had not fulfilled their obligations to do so. Read more here.

Come on, Tallahassee. By the time you find someone competent and tough enough to run the DEO, the administration's term will be winding down. Hardly a way to inspire confidence, much less goose the state's job machine.

- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times

[Last modified: Thursday, December 6, 2012 7:23am]


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