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Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Michael Van Sickler

Michael has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2003. A Cleveland, Ohio, native, he graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and got his master's degree at the University of Florida. He has worked at the Ledger and the Palm Beach Post. For the Times, he has covered everything from mortgage fraud, growth and development in Tampa Bay, and St. Petersburg City Hall. He now covers state politics and government as part of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau.

Phone: (850) 224-7263.

Email: mvansickler@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MikeVanSickler

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  1. Husband of top Florida House aide lands six-figure gig at Department of Education

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The husband of Florida House chief of staff Kathy Mears was handed the top legal job at the state Department of Education last week.

    Matthew Mears filled a vacancy created five months ago when his wife, the top aide to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, hired Department of Education lawyer Matt Carson to be the House general counsel.

    It's a unique situation that apparently isn't covered by state law. Agencies are prohibited from allowing relatives to hire each other, but Kathy Mears doesn't work for the DOE. Nor did she hire her husband....

  2. Coincidence? Husband of top House aide lands six-figure gig at DOE

    Blog

    The husband of Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli's chief aide was handed the top legal job at the state education department last week.

    He filled a vacancy created five months ago by the same aide -- House Chief of Staff Kathy Mears -- when she hired away the education department’s lawyer.

    DOE officials won’t say if the $120,000 general counsel job that went to Matthew Mears on Jan. 20 was advertised or if there were other candidates. Mears and House officials said they didn't advertise the general counsel position that was awarded to Matt Carson from the DOE, leaving the vacancy filled by Mears’ husband. But they did say it was a formal process in which one other attorney, Stuart Williams, was interviewed. Two other attorneys were asked if they were interested in interviewing, according to the House, but they declined. ...

  3. As chorus builds for FDLE probe, Scott dodges media

    Blog

    As Gov. Rick Scott on Friday continued to brush off questions about allegations of political meddling made by the state's former top law enforcement officer, pressure mounted elsewhere in Florida to get answers.

    A Land O'Lakes man filed a formal complaint with the FBI asking for an investigation into a series of claims made last week by Gerald Bailey, whom Scott ousted as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement....

  4. Calls for FDLE investigations grow as Gov. Rick Scott continues to avoid questions

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As Gov. Rick Scott on Friday continued to brush off questions about allegations of political meddling made by the state's former top law enforcement officer, pressure mounted elsewhere in Florida to get answers.

    A Land O'Lakes man filed a formal complaint with the FBI asking for an investigation into a series of claims made last week by Gerald Bailey, whom Scott ousted as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement....

  5. Stuck on Repeat: Scott avoids FDLE questions in Winter Park

    Blog

    During a Friday afternoon news conference in Winter Park, reporters continued to push Gov. Rick Scott to answer questions that he’s been dodging for a week about why he ousted Gerald Bailey from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the allegations that Bailey has made since then....

  6. Another day, another news conference with Scott dodging questions on FDLE

    Blog

    Since revelations surfaced on Jan. 13 about his removal of Gerald Bailey from the Department of Law Enforcement, Gov. Rick Scott has avoided answering questions from reporters in any meaningful detail....

  7. Scott puts little to rest in response to FDLE inquiries

    Blog

    So Gov. Rick Scott, or rather his office, has responded to inquiries about his Dec. 16 ouster of Gerald Bailey from his job as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the allegations that were subsequently made by Bailey....

  8. Meggs says he won't investigate FLDE

    Blog

  9. Despite calls for his involvement, Meggs says he won't investigate FDLE

    Blog

    Amid calls for a third-party investigation into allegations made by ousted Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs said he won't be getting involved.

    "The Cabinet members are big boys and girls," Meggs said Thursday. "They can do whatever they want. They all have investigators. Go investigate. If they don’t, shut up. It’s that simple."...

    Willie Meggs said he won't even consider investigating until he receives a criminal complaint from Gerald Bailey himself.
  10. Day before Scott's pick as RPOF chair loses, party pays Scott's campaign $580,000

    Blog

    As his candidate for chair of the Republican Party of Florida was losing support, Gov. Rick Scott was given back $580,000 by the party on Jan. 16, campaign finance records show.

    The money, which was deposited in Scott’s Let’s Get to Work campaign committee, was delivered the day before the governor’s preferred candidate, Leslie Dougher, lost her bid to remain chair to Rep. Blaise Ingoglia on Saturday....

  11. VIDEO: Bondi then and now on FDLE transparency

    Blog

    It's not Thursday yet, but what the heck.

    In light of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi saying Wednesday that "the public has a right to know" about the ouster of Gerald Bailey from the Department of Law Enforcement, the below video would be a great #throwbackthursday meme for the interwebs....

  12. UPDATE: Two Tallahassee groups ask for criminal probes into Scott's handling of FDLE

    Blog

    (UPDATE: At 5:26 p.m., Gov. Rick Scott's office issued a response to this post: "These allegations are false," said Tim Cerio, General Counsel, in an email from spokeswoman Jackie Schutz.)

    Two Tallahassee non-profits, the non-partisan watchdog group Integrity Florida and the liberal advocacy group Progress Florida, are asking for criminal investigations into Gov. Rick Scott's oversight of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement....

  13. Scott sends Atwater reply: No thanks on new FDLE search

    Blog

    Well that didn’t take long.

    Just moments after Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Rick Scott asking to reopen the search for a new commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Scott sent back a missive of his own....

  14. Weatherford, brothers to open Tampa firm

    State Roundup

    Former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford announced Tuesday that he's going to give this private sector thing a try by forming a "strategic business advisory firm" with two of his brothers.

    Weatherford and brothers Sam and Drew, the former Florida State University quarterback, are calling their Tampa company "Weatherford Partners." It will provide clients "with a broad range of business expertise and will invest capital directly into private companies with a strategic focus on Florida."...

    Former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and brothers Sam and Drew, the former Florida State University quarterback, are opening a Tampa firm, “Weatherford Partners.” 
  15. Gov. Rick Scott proposes cut in cellphone, TV taxes of $470 million

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that he will propose cutting $470 million in state cellphone and cable television taxes during the 2015 legislative session.

    According to Scott's office, the proposed cuts will save an "average family" spending $100 a month on cellphone and cable services about $43 a year, or $3.58 a month.

    The tax cut of 3.6 percent in the so-called communications services tax is nearly half of the $1 billion Scott pledged in tax cuts during last year's gubernatorial campaign....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to release his entire budget next week.