Gov. Rick Scott at Cabinet meeting: 'The buck stops here, and that means I take responsibility'

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Governor Rick Scott’s Cabinet Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good morning. I want to start the meeting by discussing the departure of Jerry Bailey. While I wanted to bring in new leadership at FDLE as we transitioned into a second term in office, it is clear, in hindsight, that I could have handled it better.

The buck stops here, and that means I take responsibility.

I am focused on working together today on creating a more transparent and predictable process for transitioning cabinet agency leadership as we move forward.

I cannot stress how important it is to add clearly defined accountability and clearly defined measurement to our cabinet agencies. In the private sector, there are no lifetime jobs. In successful companies, no worker is immune from regular performance reviews that determine whether they are meeting clearly defined objectives. State government should be no different. Taxpayers expect the government they pay for to be efficient and productive.

That is why, today, we are proposing a process that would add annual reviews to all cabinet agency leadership positions.

With this new, more transparent and predictable process, all cabinet agency leadership, including FDLE, would be up for a review in June of this year. During that review, any member of the cabinet can make a motion – at our public meeting – for the cabinet to consider the removal of an agency head and begin a search for new leadership.

If we are able to agree to a new more transparent and predictable process today, I would like to invite the current leaders of DOR, OFR, and OIR to the next cabinet meeting to specifically discuss their accomplishments and their specific goals for their agencies and how those goals serve the needs of Floridians. We each have our own goals, but I think we need input from the whole cabinet to set agency goals together.    

Before I open up for discussion, I want to add that searching for new leadership is often important to bring in new energy and fresh ideas. In fact, we have made changes all across state government as part of a transition to a second term.

Successful companies have regular reviews, measurement and accountability – all tied to company objectives. Adding measurement, accountability, and regular reviews is the best way to ensure there is no favoritism among leadership and that every appointed official is focused on what is best for the citizens of our state.

We have a proposed process for discussion today that builds on the process designed by Commissioner Putnam; but I think we need to have a bold discussion about the best process moving forward. We need everyone’s input on this. It is important that we work to make the entire process for transitioning cabinet agency leadership more transparent and predictable. I look forward to hearing your ideas and I have additional copies of the proposal for those who may need them.

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