DeSantis plans to quickly make appointments

File photo (News Service of Florida)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he plans to quickly fill slots on state boards and commissions after withdrawing more than 200 appointments made by former Gov. Rick Scott.

DeSantis said he has given the Scott appointees a chance to reapply for the positions. But he added that his decisions in January and last week to pull back the Scott appointments give other Floridians a chance to serve.

Also, the Scott appointees had not received required Senate confirmation.

“It’s interesting, different people say different things about it,” DeSantis told reporters. “Some will say, when you’ve been put in, but not confirmed by the Senate, if the governor pulls you back, you’re still there until someone new gets appointed. Others say, you’re off.”

DeSantis added that “we’re going to work quickly to put people on these positions. So, I think at the end of the day it’s not going to matter much either way.”

The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported that questions have been raised about DeSantis’ decision Friday to remove two Scott appointees to the Florida Commission on Ethics -- former state Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and former Tallahassee-area State Attorney Willie Meggs.

The ethics commission is scheduled to next meet March 8.

DeSantis added that his office hopes to announce new appointments later this week, including at least two more picks for the nine-member South Florida Water Management District Governing Board.

In January, DeSantis called for the prior board’s resignation. All but two members, whose terms expire in March, have stepped down.

DeSantis has made six appointments.

DeSantis in trying to explain his overall decision to have his own appointees in place across the state said that “some of these folks (appointed by Scott) I just don’t know very well either way.”

In January, DeSantis rescinded 45 appointments that Scott made during his final days in the governor’s office.

On Friday, DeSantis pulled back 169 more.

The latest round, announced in a letter to Senate President Bill Galvano, included members of water management districts, college boards of trustees, the Florida Board of Medicine, the Florida Transportation Commission and port authorities in Tampa and Jacksonville.