TAMPA — The Florida Commission on Ethics cleared the way on Friday for Gov. Rick Scott to start greeting visitors at Tampa International Airport.
Or rather, visitors will be greeted by the governor's recorded voice.
The commission ruled that Scott's message to visitors as they ride the shuttles between the terminal and the airsides would not violate the ban on gifts or expenditures from lobbyists.
"In this situation, the gift is from one governmental entity to another for a public purpose," said C. Christopher Anderson, the commission's general counsel and deputy executive director.
Airport officials asked the governor to record a greeting for arriving passengers and a sendoff for departing ones. But before Scott could do that, his office asked the commission to rule that the publicity from being heard by scores of patrons would not constitute an improper gift.
In the past, shuttle riders have heard from Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier, and they now hear from Mayor Bob Buckhorn. The governor's voice will be added to what the mayor says.
According to the governor's office, here's what Scott will say to arriving passengers:
"This is Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and I'd like to welcome you to Tampa Bay, a great place to live, work and play. Thank you for choosing Tampa International Airport. Enjoy your stay."
Departing passengers will hear this: "This is Florida Gov. Rick Scott. I hope you enjoyed your stay, and on behalf of the people of the state of Florida, we hope you'll return soon. Enjoy your flight."
Jamal Thalji can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3404.