WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Scott Announces Transition Team

3379299-275349609.jpg

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-933724.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Rick Scott held his first official press conference this week as the Governor-elect, announcing members if his transition team. He's also gathered a transition advisory committee that will help guide the new administration. Gina Jordan tells us Scott is sticking with his plan of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years.

With Lt. Governor-elect Jennifer Carroll by his side, Scott kept the focus on getting the state back to work by implementing his "7-7-7" plan.

"So the first step if you're going to do anything in life," he said, "whether you're building a company or if you want to have the right government is - we're going to hire the best people. Jennifer and I are going to surround ourselves with absolutely the best people out there, people that are just as committed as we are."

Scott used to be CEO of the hospital chain Columbia/HCA. He resigned amid a scandal involving some of the company's billing practices in 1997. He took a severance package worth at least $300 million. A few years later, the company paid a record $1.7 billion fine to settle Medicare and Medicaid fraud charges. Scott admits mistakes were made at Columbia/HCA, but says he knew nothing about the fraud. Now, after spending $73 million of his own money on campaign ads, Scott says he's looking for hard workers with integrity and a passion for serving the state.

"They have to be committed to our goal of more jobs, more private sector
jobs, and less government," he said. "They have to be optimistic people with a heck of a lot of energy. They've to got to look at everything with a fresh eye, they can't go back and say oh we can't do that because we've always, it's never been done that way. If we're going to make change and we're going to improve the state, we've got to look at things differently."

Wayne Bertsch is a government affairs consultant in Tallahassee. He says as Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature attempt to tackle the state's economic problems, they will also be trying to avoid a Democratic takeover in the next election. He thinks that will require being successful in cutting some wasteful spending and unnecessary programs.

"We're used to having $70 billion budgets and now we're at $56 billion. So, there's a lot of money there that, while at the time the programs probably sounded good, or those projects were probably great ideas at the time because we had the money. There was revenue coming in to fund them. But now if it's not serving or protecting you or I and everyone else who pays taxes here, then it probably needs to really be scrutinized."

Scott is moving to the governor's office with a nine-member advisory committee that includes current and former legislators. Scott says he will listen to them, but make his own decisions. He plans to tackle the job ahead as a businessman instead of a politician. He'll be networking, or as he puts it, job hunting for Florida every day.

"I mean, my whole job is to go around the state and go around the country
and go around the world and say, We want you to do business in Florida. We want you to expand in Florida, open your business in Florida, move your business to Florida.' We've got so many things going for us: a right to work state, no income tax, the great weather, the great beaches. There are so many reasons for people to do business in Florida. We're going to make sure that government does not get in the way and stop that."

Scott says he'll run a transparent government, and announcements will be coming soon regarding policy teams. Bertsch thinks all state workers should be concerned about losing their jobs.

"I think we'll get some read prior to session on what kind of cutbacks will happen in state government, then the new budget will take effect on July 1st and I think an ultimate goal for both the Legislature and the governor would be to propose a budget that is less than what we are spending today," Bertsch said.

Scott wants employees who will provide better customer service to Floridians, and help make Florida the number one state for job creation. He is promoting a new website for anyone interested in working with his administration or offering ideas about how to better run the government. The site is called scotttransition.com.