Friday, January 19, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott isn't calling for investigation into Citizens yet

Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday that he is open to having an investigation into the recent firings of Citizens Insurance's entire Office of Corporate Integrity, though he stopped short of calling for the immediate inquiry that some good governance groups have asked for.

Scott said he would wait for the completion of the current inspector general investigation into Citizens — which focuses on corporate spending issues — before deciding whether to call for an investigation into the firings.

The Times/Herald reported last week that Citizens had disbanded its Office of Corporate Integrity — the four-person unit responsible for investigating growing complaints of fraud and abuse within the company.

Scott wrote a letter saying he was "concerned" about the firings.

On Monday, Citizens CEO Barry Gilway defended the firings as a way to realign the company's operations to focus more on forensic fraud. He said he regretted the way the firings were handled and was open to having Scott's inspector general look more closely at what happened.

Scott said he'd hold off on making that decision and follow a "logical process" of letting the current investigation run its course before deciding on any additional investigations.

"He's not taking it off the table," said Melissa Sellers, a spokesperson for Scott.

Readying in case of Romney

Buzz hears Mitt Romney is looking to hold a rally Saturday in Pasco County.

Officials at Land O'Lakes High were expecting representatives from the Republican National Committee on Tuesday afternoon to determine whether the school could handle such an event. But the visit was postponed.

School officials have begun preparing, though. They've posted the rally on their school activities calendar for 5 p.m. Saturday in the football stadium. And principal Ric Mellin has sent a memo to staffers letting them know that the back of the school will likely be off limits Friday and Saturday for preparations.

Funeral Monday for Madden

Steven John Madden, 43, a Tallahassee lobbyist and GOP political consultant, died Sunday after an almost six-year battle with melanoma. A graduate of Florida State University and Lake Mary High School, Madden was one of the Republican Party young guns who helped the GOP assume control of the state Senate in 1994 and the state House in 1996.

Known for his gentle, ever-present smile and keen intellect, friends describe Madden as a fierce competitor with a love for any game.

A funeral will be held Monday at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Tallahassee with a reception to follow at the Governor's Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Madden Memorial Fund, Post Office Box 10805, Tallahassee, Florida 32302.

House has new majority leader

House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, announced Monday that he has chosen his likely successor, Rep. Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary, to be the new House majority leader.

Dorworth, a skillful politician, has been a controversial figure due to personal financial difficulties and his aggressive use of a political fund to pay consultants and travel extensively to advance his goal of becoming speaker in 2014. As majority leader, Dorworth's responsibility is simple: to ensure that the House Republican leadership agenda passes.

Times/Herald staff writers Mary Ellen Klas and Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.

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Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

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