Rick Scott, Cabinet, open 12-day window to replace financial regulator

"Governor, do you feel this gives us enough time to do a nationwide search?" Attorney General Pam Bondi asked.
Published June 8, 2018|Updated June 8, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott and the three members of the Florida Cabinet are allowing just 12 days to do a nationwide search to replace the state's banking regulator, who was pressured to resign last month.

The search begins Monday and ends June 22, with public interviews with applicants on June 27th.

Scott proposed the short time frame, prompting an immediate question from Attorney General Pam Bondi.

"Governor, do you feel this gives us enough time to do a nationwide search?" Bondi asked.

"Either it will or it won't," Scott replied. "We'll know before the 27th if we didn't have enough applicants."

Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Drew Breakspear announced last week that he was stepping down at the end of the month, after pressure from CFO Jimmy Patronis.

Patronis cited "concerns over the lack of cooperation, responsiveness, and communication," although Patronis never met with Breakspear to discuss his concerns.

Patronis was largely silent on Friday afternoon's group call with his fellow Cabinet members.

Scott said the quick turnaround was because he wanted to avoid having someone in an interim role lead OFR, which licenses and regulated banks, check-cashing stores and payday loan operations, among other things.

"If anyone feels uncomfortable on the 27th, we do the interim process," Scott said.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said "it would be ideal to avoid the interim step."

And as for the short time frame, Putnam agreed with Scott's reasoning.

"I think you and the AG are right," Putnam said. "We're going to know pretty quickly if that's adequate time or not."