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Atwater Depature Sets Rumor Mill Spinning

CFO Jeff Atwater
Nick Evans

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s surprise departure from the Florida Cabinet is setting off a whirlwind of speculation about his replacement.

Atwater’s announcement late Friday immediately put the spotlight on former Southwest Florida Republican Representative Tom Grady. Grady is a close friend of Governor Rick Scott, who will appoint an interim CFO to fill the two years remaining in Atwater’s term.

Other names being suggested are former House Speakers Will Weatherford, Steve Crisafulli and Dean Cannon, as well as Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera. Grady, a securities lawyer, served brief stints as head of the Office of Financial Regulation and head of Citizens Property Insurance.

Grady dismissed the speculation, telling FloridaPolitics.com he is focusing on winning the presidential search for Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero.

In Florida, Cabinet members are elected statewide.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.