One of Gov. Rick Scott’s closest advisors wanted to keep the newly-elected governor out of meetings about the state budget, a recently released batch of e-mails from Scott’s transition team revealed.
Mary Anne Carter – one of Scott’s two key players in his transition – tried to keep Scott out of preliminary meeting with the Office of Policy and Budget staff in an attempt to insulate him.
Donna Arduin, a long-time budget director for several governors including Jeb Bush, served as Scott’s budget advisor during his campaign and transition. She was trying to set up a meeting with Scott and the budget staff to give the newly elected governor and his aides an inside look at how the budget is crafted.
But writing to Arduin on Dec. 15, Carter (who calls Scott “RLS” in her messages) asked, “Are we not better off going through it without RLS and then determine what decisions need to be made? If there are going to be areas where policy and politics collide, I think it’s best to know ahead of time and not have him involved in initial conversations.”
Arduin didn’t back down.
“You will see how budget meetings go by observing tomorrow,” Arduin wrote. “The meetings are the governor meeting with his opb staff and making decisions.”
The politically-savvy Arduin then sent Susie Wiles, Scott’s campaign manager who later became his legislative liaison, a more pointed note: “Keep the governor out of his budget decisions because we don’t want him involved in political decisions….really??!!!”
“This process is beyond amazing to me,” Wiles, who has since left Scott’s administration, responded. “I am praying hard for Rick.”