Florida Gov. Rick Scott is being sued over his decision to leave the post of lieutenant governor vacant for nearly ten months. A Tallahassee lobbyist and political activist is asking the Florida Supreme Court to force an appointment within 30 days.
Article-4, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution says: “There shall be a lieutenant governor, who shall perform such duties pertaining to the office of governor as shall be assigned by the governor, except when otherwise provided by law, and such other duties as may be prescribed by law.”
Jennifer Carroll abruptly resigned last March amid an investigation of work she once did for a charity that was a front for a widespread gambling ring. She was not accused of any wrongdoing and in May, she told a Boca Raton TV station that she actually was forced to resign.
A spokeswoman for the Governor said he’s not changing his timeline for deciding when a lieutenant governor will be chosen.
In her lawsuit, Barbara DeVane ,– who has a long history of working for many Democratic Party causes, contends that Scott is breaking a state law that requires him to appoint a lieutenant governor.
DeVane supports now-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist,who’s been leading Scott in many of the early polls. She did not return calls from WUWF seeking an interview for the story.
Almost immediately after Jennifer Carroll’s resignation, the speculation began over who Governor Scott would pick as her successor.
The Tampa Bay Times reported in November that the list had been narrowed to four names: Hillsborough County Commissioner and former state lawmaker Sandy Murman; Brandon state Sen. Tom Lee, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger; and Joseph Joyner, St. Johns County school superintendent.
Susan McManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida, says whoever is selected likely will become Scott’s running mate for 2014, rather than just a caretaker office holder.
For Senate President Don Gaetz, a Republican from Niceville, the issue is who would be best qualified to remain a heartbeat away from the governor’s office. If something were to happen to Gov. Rick Scott before he selects a new lieutenant governor, Attorney General Pam Bondi would take over under a 2006 revision to the order of succession.