TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – You may not know it, but the state of Florida has been without a number two in the state government for the last five months.
Monday marked five months since former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll tendered her resignation as a scandal surrounding illegal gambling and the Internet cafe industry began to swirl around her.
Since then, Florida has been without a lieutenant governor and Governor Rick Scott isn’t in any hurry to name a replacement.
“We’re still working on the criteria and I’m working with Adam Hollingsworth, my chief of staff, on that,” Scott said, according to the politics blog of The Palm Beach Post. “My biggest focus every day is to keep jobs going.”
Scott said in early July that he had tapped Hollingsworth to prepare for a search, but there have been few if any public statements since then about the vacancy.
Carroll resigned March 12 amid revelations that a company she co-owned, 3N & JC Corporation, had provided consulting services for Allied Veterans of the World, which was at the center of an investigation into illegal gambling and other crimes in the Internet café industry.
Carroll has not been charged in connection with the case and has denied any wrongdoing.
For now, if Scott were unable to fulfill his duties for some reason, Attorney General Pam Bondi would take over as governor.
Democrats have hammered Scott for failing to appoint a lieutenant governor in the months after Carroll’s resignation, most recently slamming the administration after a public records request on the search in June turned up nothing.
But the Florida Constitution and state law do not appear to provide any deadline for Scott’s decision. The Constitution simply says that “[t]here shall be a lieutenant governor,” then says the governor will decide the lieutenant governor’s role. State law only says that “the Governor shall appoint a successor” when the office opens up.
The position has no real responsibilities beyond whatever work the governor asks the lieutenant governor to do, something that has led critics to argue that the office should be done away with.