TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is moving to further put his fingerprints on boards and commissions across the state, while wiping away those of former Gov. Rick Scott.
A month after rescinding 45 appointments that Scott made during his final days in the governor’s office, DeSantis on Friday pulled back 169 more that Scott had made.
The latest round, announced in a letter to Senate President Bill Galvano, ranged from members of the state Commission on Ethics and college boards of trustees to the Board of Acupuncture and port authorities in Tampa and Jacksonville.
And while DeSantis publicly called in January for the resignations of all members of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, getting seven of the nine members to step down, DeSantis on Friday retracted appointments of Alphonas Alexander and Charles Keith to the Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board, George Roberts to the Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board, Allan Roberts, Janet Price and John Miklos to the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board and Ed Armstrong, Scott Wiggins and Jeffrey Adams to the Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board.
Notable names on the latest list included Matthew Caldwell, the president of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club who was appointed by Scott last April to the Broward College Board of Trustees, and former state Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and former Tallahassee-area State Attorney Willie Meggs, who were named by Scott to the Commission on Ethics in late September.
Also removed, for the second time by DeSantis, was Tom Grady, a former Republican state House member from Naples who was appointed by Scott to the Investment Advisory Council, which provides oversight of state investments.
In the earlier round of scrapping Scott’s appointments, DeSantis removed Grady from the State Board of Education. Scott had reappointed Grady to that board on Jan. 4, four days before leaving the governor’s office and moving to the U.S. Senate.
Grady was a favorite of Scott, serving as head of the state Office of Financial Regulation in 2011 and interim president of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in 2012. Scott appointed Grady to the Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees in 2014, the state Board of Education in 2015, and the Constitution Revision Commission in 2017.
In his letter, DeSantis simply wrote that he was informing Galvano of the retracted appointments, followed by a list of the names and government bodies. Each of the appointments targeted by DeSantis on Friday required Senate confirmation.
The latest retractions, first reported by the Florida Politics website, weren’t as widely expected as DeSantis’ move in January to pull back appointments that Scott made in his final days in Tallahassee. DeSantis and members of his administration said many of those nearly 100 appointments, particularly appointees requiring Senate confirmation, wouldn’t survive.
Those appointments came in the days in which Scott could have already been sworn into the Senate. His aides said Scott delayed the move to Washington so he could complete his entire four-year term as governor.
But Scott's last-minute appointments were a source of tension between the outgoing and incoming administrations.