TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Five months have passed since Florida last had a lieutenant governor, but Gov. Rick Scott appears to be in no hurry to change the situation.
During a visit to West Palm Beach on Monday, the five-month anniversary of former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's resignation, Scott was asked about the lack of a second-in-line and running mate. Scott signaled that he hasn't even decided what he wants in a No. 2.
"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.