Paging Mr. Zuckerberg: Scott’s first FB townhall roughby John Kennedy | March 22nd, 2011
In a social network experience marked by little socializing but plenty of network snafus, Gov. Rick Scott held his first Facebook townhall Tuesday night answering a few questions from the hundreds pelted at him.
Most of the Internet crowd was rough. The governor was quizzed about his recommended cuts to schools, merit pay for teachers, reducing pensions, and his reluctance to engage the conventional media.
One Facebook friend from Tampa, Tony Cona, wrote the governor saying, “I’m taking bets right now that in the end you will prove to be the worse thing that ever happened to the state of Florida.”
As he did with a Twitter town hall a few weeks ago, Scott sidestepped his toughest critics. But he did try to defend some of his policies.
While the governor has gotten heat for blocking implementation of a prescription drug database to combat pill mills flourishing in South Florida, Scott on Facebook voiced sympathy.
“This is a significant (problem) for the State. A friend of mine just lost his daughter. We need to focus on the distribution of “narcotics and close down pill mills that are improperly distributing prescriptions,” Scott wrote.
The governor also pushed back in support of his and the Legislature’s support for tying teacher pay to student performance.
“My experience with teachers is they would like to be measured, the measurement need to be fair, and the most effective teachers need to be rewarded with both recognition and better pay,” Scott responded.
He also stood by his plan to make 655,000 government employees contribute to their pension plans for the first time in four decades.
Scott said, “ We need to make sure the state pension is sustainable and we need to make sure we are fair to both taxpayers who don’t have pensions and to state workers who are not presently contributing into the pension plan.
After about a half-hour, Florida’s #1 Friend called it quits, thanking participants and apologizing for the technical problems. “Thank you for your ideas on how we can get Floridians back to work,” he concluded.