Governor Rick Scott has no formal CFO vetting process in place, no short list, and no date certain for when Jeff Atwater will formally step down from his role as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. Atwater announced he would resign after the conclusion of the 2017 legislative session, which officially ended late Monday evening. He is expected to assume the role of CFO and Director of Strategic Initiatives at Florida Atlantic University this summer.
But late Tuesday, Atwater’s office said the CFO would consult with Governor Scott to set a date for his departure after his obligations to the Legislature were complete.
“The transmittal of the budget to the Governor’s Office will conclude the obligations of the Legislature for the 2017 Session,” said Atwater’s communications director, Ashley Carr. “At that time, we will set a meeting with the Governor’s Office to discuss and determine a mutually agreed upon departure date.”
Several high profile candidates eyeing the job have said they’ve heard next to nothing from the Governor’s office about any official process, whether an application was required, or if interviews would be conducted. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, widely considered one of the top candidates for the post, formally removed his name from consideration over the weekend.
“I always stand ready to work with Gov. Scott to make the future brighter,” Curry said. “But to stem the gossip and get the focus back on the city I love, I informed the governor today that I am not seeking an appointment to CFO.”
Other candidates rumored to be under consideration include Public Works Commissioner Jimmy Patronis, State Representative Joe Gruters, and real estate developer and former state senator Pat Neal, among others.
It is widely speculated that whomever the governor appoints to the position will campaign for the post during the 2018 election cycle. Republicans across the state are watching closely to see who Rick Scott selects, as it could have a domino effect on other down-ballot races.