Carl Littlefield is Tallahassee's version of the political crony who came to dinner, a discredited bureaucrat with a shameful record of permitting the sexual abuse of the developmentally disabled on his watch as an official with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. But Littlefield will not go away. Instead, Gov. Rick Scott created a soft landing by creating for him a $78,000-a-year Department of Children and Families' paper-pushing job in Tampa as thousands of other state workers are facing the prospect of pink slips. Now that's real job creation.
Littlefield had been tabbed by Scott to run the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, a $140,000-a-year plum. But that appointment was scuttled in the wake of revelations that Littlefield, in his capacity as a regional director for the agency, oversaw the medieval operations of a Seffner group home in which men with severe behavioral problems, including sex offenders, were encouraged by staff members to engage in sexual activities as a form of "therapy."
Littlefield gave up the appointment only after Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, who chairs the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, properly questioned his judgment. After a series of hectoring e-mails to Scott's office wanting to know his "next assignment," he was soon appointed to the newly created, just-for-him $78,000-a-year job as "community outreach" director for the DCF, a vaguely described position that does not require Senate confirmation. The post comes just in the nick of time for Littlefield, who complained in his e-mails that his wife was getting concerned about a possible lack of health insurance. Scott vigorously opposes federal health care reform that will make it easier and less expensive to help people get coverage than by creating a state job, but that's another story.
Finding a job for an obsequious political foot soldier armed with more connections than competence is nothing new in Tallahassee. And the appointment of Littlefield appears to be little more than Scott thumbing his nose at Storms over not having his first choice to run Agency for Persons with Disabilities. But this is at odds with the governor's pledge to reduce the state work force and run government more like a business.
During his campaign, Scott promised he would create 700,000 jobs. One down, only 699,999 to go.