Scott, Haridopolos name new chiefsby John Kennedy | June 24th, 2011
A shuffle at the highest reaches of state government began Friday, with Gov. Rick Scott naming a veteran legislative insider as his chief-of-staff and Senate President Mike Haridopolos also choosing a well-known Capitol name to manage his office.
As expected, Scott chose Steve MacNamara to succeed retired Army Col. Mike Prendergast as his chief-of-staff, plucking MacNamara from Haridopolos’ office, where he served in a similar capacity. Prendergast, who had been working for the first time in state government, earlier this week was named executive director of Florida’s Veterans’ Affairs Department.
MacNamara, though, brings to the governor’s office a wealth of Capitol experience. With polls showing the governor’s popularity at a stunningly low levels and the state’s economy still sluggish, MacNamara will likely be tasked with initiating policies that help Scott elevate his political game — and support from Floridians.
“My goal is to make Florida the number one state in the country for job creation and I believe Steve MacNamara is the best choice to direct my team in that endeavor,” Scott said. “His experience and political skill will be an asset to all Floridians as we continue to position Florida as an economic leader.”
MacNamara is a former chief-of-staff to then-House Speaker John Thrasher, and served as an agency head under former Republican Gov. Bob Martinez. He also earlier served as a Senate staffer on redistricting — the once-a-deacade process lawmakers began again this month — and is a tenured professor at Florida State University.
Succeeding MacNamara in Haridopolos’ office is Craig Meyer, another longtime Capitol staffer who, most recently, was director of the Senate’s budget committee as it worked to offset a nearly $3.8 billion budget shortfall.
Scott’s office lost two key players this week, with adviser Mary Anne Carter also announcing she was leaving the administration by the end of June. It’s uncertain whether Carter’s position will be filled, but other changes could be coming within the executive office and Senate president’s shop.