Atwater set to leave office at end of month


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater formally delivered his letter of resignation on Monday, five months after announcing he was leaving for a job at Florida Atlantic University.

The letter said June 30 --- the end of the current fiscal year --- will be Atwater's final day in the statewide job.

He's held the Cabinet office, which has duties ranging from overseeing the state treasury to serving as the state fire marshal, since 2011.

“I assure you that I and the entire Department of Financial Services staff (are) prepared to assist our new CFO during this time of transition in order to facilitate the seamless passing of responsibilities and duties to my successor,” Atwater wrote.

The letter was hand-delivered Monday by Atwater's chief of staff to the office of Gov. Rick Scott, who will appoint a replacement. John Tupps, a Scott spokesman, said the governor's office will have an announcement “in the near future.”

Democrat Jeremy Ring, a former state senator from Parkland and former executive with the internet firm Yahoo, is the only candidate who has opened a campaign account to run for chief financial officer.

Atwater's statewide post pays $128,972 a year. At Florida Atlantic University, he will replace Dorothy Russell, who retired in January after a decade at the university and was paid nearly $250,000 last year.

Atwater is expected to attend a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

In February, Atwater announced he intended leave office after the 2017 regular legislative session, which ended May 8. But a month ago, as talk circulated about the need for a special session, Atwater said he was waiting for action on the state budget to be completed.

“We had a responsibility, when we said to finish session, maybe I should have been more clear about that, that all the work is completed, and not put it in the hands of someone who will be coming in for just a couple of days, to try to learn the systems and get it uploaded to start the fiscal year,” Atwater said before a May 23 Cabinet meeting.

He will become a vice president at the Boca Raton school managing finances and economic development.

Re-elected as chief financial officer in 2014, Atwater's term would expire after the 2018 election. Atwater, who spent a decade in the Legislature, including the 2009 and 2010 sessions as Senate president, has lived in North Palm Beach since he was 4 years old.