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Finney drops out of Enterprise Florida search

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(CNNMoney via CNN)

It appears Gov. Rick Scott's business-recruitment agency will have a choice of two candidates in the search for a new leader.

Michael Finney, a former adviser to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, has asked that his name be removed from consideration by the Enterprise Florida President & CEO Search Committee for the job, advertised at $175,000- to $200,000-a-year.

Finney's decision came after the committee on Nov. 9 agreed to add Chris Hart, a former state lawmaker and the longtime president of CareerSource Florida, to its shortlist.

Mike Grissom, spokesman for the public-private Enterprise Florida, said Finney advised the agency he is considering a teaching position at the University of Michigan.

Finney's departure leaves Hart and Richard Biter, a retired Florida Department of Transportation assistant secretary on the shortlist for agency officials to consider when they meet next week at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

Biter and Finney were both interviewed for the job by the search committee in Orlando on Sept. 28.

However, one-on-one interviews by Scott with the finalists never happened.

Instead, Scott's attention was focused at the time on the growth of a tropical storm that developed into Hurricane Matthew.

The governor was scheduled to interview both Biter and Hart on Monday, but Scott's spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said Wednesday that Biter's interview has been postponed until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The committee received 101 applications this summer to replace former Enterprise Florida President and CEO Bill Johnson, who resigned after the Legislature rejected Scott's request for $250 million in economic-incentive money for the public-private agency early this year.

Scott has announced he will ask lawmakers for $85 million for incentives in 2017.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, has said he intends to work for the governor's $85 million proposal if the money is available, while House Speaker Richard Corcoran views incentives as "corporate welfare.”