Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Education

Pinellas clerk, lawmaker's son left off Gov. Rick Scott's reappointment list

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott has sacked two people from state boards with close ties to a Pinellas County senator who antagonized Scott and his top aide on a key issue in the recent legislative session.

Scott on Monday announced that he would not reappoint Pinellas Clerk of Courts Ken Burke to the St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees, where he had served for 13 years. Scott also withdrew the appointment of Rod Jones to the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine. Jones, a North Pinellas chiropractor, is the son of Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole.

Sen. Jones had lobbied for both men to keep their posts.

Burke, a St. Petersburg College graduate who has been active in college affairs since 1979, said Scott's chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, phoned him with the news.

"I think his words were that 'the governor is going in a different direction,' " Burke said. "Obviously, I'm disappointed."

Scott was forced to reappoint nearly 350 people to different state boards because the Senate adjourned in March without confirming his original choices. The Senate's inaction allowed Scott to reconsider some of his decisions. In all, Scott chose not to reappoint a total of 10 people.

On Tuesday, Scott declined to discuss individual appointment decisions.

"I looked to see who was the most qualified," Scott said. "Did they believe in the things that I believe in?"

Asked about Rod Jones, he said: "I don't want to talk about any one person."

Sen. Jones, the current dean of the Legislature and in the last year of a 28-year career, was a vocal critic of privatizing South Florida prisons, a project Scott supported.

When MacNamara summoned Jones to the governor's office to hear Scott's pitch, Jones refused.

Jones had earlier asked the governor to reappoint his son and Burke to their voluntary posts, and MacNamara has said he hoped Jones would be open to "horse trading."

"He has the absolute right to pick whoever he wants. That's the way it is politically," Sen. Jones said. "If it was a job that paid something, maybe somebody would give a damn."

Scott also declined to reappoint Tampa architect Carlos Alfonso to the University of Florida's board of trustees.

Alfonso, the only Tampa Bay member of the UF board, withdrew his application late last week when he learned Scott would not reappoint him.

Alfonso's ouster after more than 10 years comes as UF trustees plan to embark on a search to replace UF president Bernie Machen, whose contract expires next year, according to the Gainesville Sun. By replacing Alfonso, Scott could have more influence over the selection of Machen's successor.

Times staff writer Kim Wilmath contributed to this report. Steve Bousquet can be reached at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Published: 05/21/18
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Hooper: SEL lends a solution to the increasingly toxic world of kids

An incident recently arose between students at Jesuit High School and Academy of the Holy Names that involved allegations of cyberbullying, homophobia, misogyny and assault.It only involved a fraction of the students at two of Tampa’s most prestigiou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

A Florida teacher was placed on administrative leave after school officials were told that he had students help him drown wild raccoons during class.A 14-second video published by CBS affiliate WKMG showed a group of students filling a tub of water u...
Published: 05/17/18