Friday, September 21, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott shuts down lieutenant governor's office to save money

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott has temporarily shut down the lieutenant governor's office in a money-saving move that will force four employees to scramble to find new jobs.

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned March 12 after she was questioned by state law enforcement agents as part of a broad probe of a gambling ring that included a veterans' charity that once employed her Jacksonville marketing firm. Carroll has not been accused of wrongdoing.

A couple of days after Carroll resigned, her assistants began dismantling the office, shutting down computers and boxing up paperwork that must be retained under public records laws.

The lieutenant governor's office has an annual budget of about $510,000, most of which is in salaries paid to Carroll and four full-time staff members.

Chief of staff John Konkus earns $100,000 a year. The other full-timers were an executive assistant, scheduler and manager of a satellite office near Carroll's Fleming Island home.

Scott's chief spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers, said that all four will receive state assistance in looking for new jobs, but that the next lieutenant governor will have a free hand in making hiring decisions.

Scott reiterated Monday that he won't begin the search for a replacement for Carroll until after the legislative session ends in early May, and that he gets unsolicited advice.

"People are giving me plenty of ideas," Scott told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board. "They give me names all the time as I travel the state."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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