Reviews are in: Scott's first 100 days
By Sascha Cordner
Tallahassee, FL – Today (Wednesday) marks Governor Rick Scott's 100th day in office. A Quinnipiac poll shows Scott may have an approval rating below 50-percent at this time, but it may be due to unresolved issues regarding the state budget. As Sascha Cordner reports, many state workers and students gathered at the Capitol today to give Scott a job performance review of their own.
A number of teachers, students, and other state workers assembled at the 4th floor of the Capitol Rotunda to give the Governor a job performance review.
"As stakeholders we need a fundamental change, and that's why we were here today to stand one unified and to stand one unified and to deliver a report card, since he calls himself a CEO, we graded him on the things that he has done since he has been in office and he has failed miserably in every single department."
Florida A&M University student Jamaal Rose voiced his anger at what he calls the Governor's blatant disregard for public servants.
"He's made an outright attack on teachers who are responsible for building this great state of Florida. We look at what he's done for the firefighters, our police officers, those who have to put on the uniform and protect us every day, and yet and still the Governor is aiming attack at their benefits and we give the Governor an unsatisfactory grade which is an F."
Jamaal was one of the speakers brought together by Florida AFL-CIO, a pro-unions lobbying group, that held the press conference to allow people to voice their opinions of the Governor, after his 100 days in office.
Barbara Wilmarth is a teacher who works for the special-education department in Pinellas County Schools. She gives the Governor a thumbs down as well. She also says the legislature also has room for improvement and cannot believe lawmakers are even considering having state workers pay a percentage of their salaries to their retirement accounts, instead of having the state not pay the full amount as before.
"My husband and I are both teachers and we find that a lot in public servants that teachers are married to firefighters and police officers and teachers are married to teachers and vice-versa and yes, it's five-percent out of my salary, but it's also five percent out of my husband's salary, and now we have two kids that are college age and a junior in high school, and now you want us to cut our budget by 10-percent."
Democratic Representative Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach also chimed in with this review of the Governor.
"A dismal failure, I think that unfortunately, I think he has a complete disconnect with the people of Florida and I think one of the ways you can tell that's very clear now, how so many advocacy groups and people are gelling together like you haven't seen as far as back as I can remember to many of his decisions."
Decisions, like signing the teacher merit pay bill which ties student test performance to teacher evaluations, and it also ended tenure for new teachers hired after July first. A decision aspiring teacher and Florida State University Political Science student Patrick Shepherd says he is strongly opposed to.
"You know without tenure they're effective de-professionalizing the field of teaching, with the teacher merit pay bill and all of that, they're de-professionalizing that profession, so that if I want to have enough money and be middle class and all that, teaching would not be the profession to go into."
But, when asked about his overall performance, Governor Scott says he truly likes what's he is doing.
"I enjoy what I'm doing. I care about people. I ran for Governor because I believe in this country and in this state and I believe we need to make sure that we do the best we can for the citizens in our state and live within our means."
Overall, Florida's 45th Governor says it may be his first 100 days, but there is one valuable lesson he has learned throughout his term so far.
"The thing that's interesting is that you'd like everything to happen faster than it does, you'd like whatever issue you're dealing with, you'd like it to be resolved faster and it's a process, probably a good process, but that's one thing you do learn."
Scott says his job is more than a full-time job, but he is more than happy to do what he can for Florida's taxpayers.