A lobbyist for the Florida National Organization for Women wants the state’s top court to order Gov. Rick Scott to name a new lieutenant governor — a position unoccupied since March 2013 — within 30 days.
As the 10-month anniversary approaches of Jennifer Carroll’s resignation from the post, longtime Tallahassee activist Barbara DeVane filed a lawsuit on Monday at the Florida Supreme Court that contends Scott is breaking state law by failing to appoint a successor. DeVane also claims Scott’s decision to leave the post unoccupied upsets the order of succession and that the “state would be powerless to respond” if a crisis occurs and Scott is for some reason unavailable.
“If the Governor (who resigned his previous position as chief executive officer of a company that pled guilty to massive amounts of systemic fraud, including 14 felonies, leading to a historic $1.7 billion fine) resigns amid scandal like his lieutenant or dies, there is no lieutenant governor to fulfill the heavy responsibilities of the office,” the suit claims.
If Scott were unable to fulfill his duties before a lieutenant governor is named, Attorney General Pam Bondi would take over as governor.
In an email response to the suit, Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said, “The Governor is going to take the right time to find the right person.” DeVane doesn’t offer who should be selected, noting she isn’t “seeking to compel the Governor to choose any particular individual.”
Despite a variety of rumored picks, Scott has given few clear indications about when he will fill the post. Carroll stepped down March 12, after law-enforcement officials raided Internet cafes across the state. Carroll previously had done consulting work for Allied Veterans of the World, a key target of the investigation.
–source News Service of Florida