TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera makes $124,000 a year, but a review of the lieutenant governor's official schedule since he was sworn in in January shows that he has turned his full-time job into a part-time gig while he looks for new work.
After he took the oath of office on Jan. 6, Lopez-Cantera's schedule shows that he didn't work a full day for the rest of the month.
Overall, the official schedule shows the lieutenant governor working 367 hours since January, while 40-hour-a-week employees would have worked 968 hours.
Reporter Mike Vasilinda asked Gov. Rick Scott about the work ethic.
"It appears he has worked about 4 hours for every 10 that's been worked by an average Floridian. Is that acceptable to you?" Vasilinda asked.
"Well, you can talk to the lieutenant governor about his work schedule, but I appreciate his hard work," Scott said.
When Scott selected Lopez-Cantera for the No. 2 job in January 2014, he said it was in part because of the former state House member's influence with the Legislature.
"His legislative experience will make him very helpful," Scott said in January 2014.
But in April, as House and Senate relations were melting down, Lopez-Cantera was nowhere to be found. He was on the job just 40 percent of the time that month.
The resulting special session cost taxpayers at least $1 million.
"Could that have been avoided if he'd been on the job?" Vasilinda asked.
"I appreciate what Carlos has done," Scott said.
Lopez-Cantera's schedule is already fodder for the Florida Democratic Party.
"He's shown up for work four times this month. I think most people would get fired if they were doing that," said Max Steel, of the Florida Democratic Party.
When Gov. Bob Graham was asked about his future plans, he always said that the best resume for the job you want is the job you are doing.
The lieutenant governor is expected to announce a run for the U.S. Senate in July. Others have used time spent campaigning for the next job against would-be candidates.
"If he doesn't show up for work now, why should we elect him governor?" asked Jim Davis.
It's a charge to which Lopez-Cantera has left himself vulnerable.
Lopez-Cantera continues to collect his $10,000-a-month salary, making his hourly wage in June about $1,300 an hour. Requests to speak with the lieutenant governor by phone went unanswered.