Gov. Rick Scott is traveling to three cities to tout his decision to tap a political ally and former legislator to a top position.
Governor Rick Scott came to Panama City Beach Monday morning to officially appoint and swear in Jimmy Patronis, Jr.as Florida's new Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Patronis, who helped his family run a well-known restaurant, now sits on the panel that regulates utilities.
Lakewood Ranch-based home builder Pat Neal and Sarasota state Rep. Joe Gruters both were believed to be in contention for the CFO job, which became available when current CFO Jeff Atwater announced he will leave the seat before his term expires next year. "I know that he will bring his wealth of private sector experience with him to Tallahassee".
"This year marks the 50th anniversary of my family starting a business in Florida, and it has been my honor to be a part of its growth and success for much of my life", said Patronis.
Patronis in a statement said he was "honored" by the appointment. "As Florida's next CFO, I want Florida to be the place where government does its job fairly and predictably so workers can find great jobs at great businesses".
Scott will also make announcements in Tampa and Pensacola. He broke from the party's leadership in 2010 to support Scott in his initial gubernatorial campaign over then-Attorney General Bill McCollum.
In a rare opportunity, Scott has the chance to appoint someone to the four-member Cabinet who will nearly assuredly vote in lockstep with him moving forward.
Patronis will serve out the remainder of Atwater's term, and could have an advantage over other Republicans if he chooses to run for a full term in 2018.
Florida's chief financial officer is elected statewide and is a member of the state Cabinet that oversees several key agencies. Under state law, both must agree on the appointment.
Democrat Jeremy Ring, a former state senator from Parkland and former executive with the internet firm Yahoo, is the only candidate who has opened a campaign account to run for chief financial officer. But the two clashed past year over who should become the state's insurance commissioner.