The newest member of the Florida Cabinet spent his first day on job after being sworn-in Friday morning.
With his wife, Katie, and their two sons, Theo and Johnny, by his side, Jimmy Patronis was sworn-in as the state’s Chief Financial Officer. He succeeds Jeff Atwater who resigned a year-and-a-half before the end of his second term to take a leadership position at Florida Atlantic University.
“I’m really looking forward to being effective and efficient and keeping up the same standards and values that CFO Atwater has brought to the job,” Patronis said after the ceremony. “Greater transparency, greater efficiency in attacking fraud in our insurance and just doing what he can to insure the economy and prosperity that our state has grows as I get to work with Gov. Scott and contribute to that cause.”
Gov. Rick Scott announced at the beginning of the week that Patronis was his choice to fill the open seat. The two men have known each other since 2007 when Patronis was serving in the Legislature.
Patronis has been a loyal supporter of Scott’s, breaking from the GOP’s leadership and endorsing Scott for governor in 2010.
“My experience with Jimmy is that he is honest, ethical, always wants to do the right thing,” Scott told reporters following the swearing-in ceremony. “It’s a real honor. He’s a good friend and I know he’s going to be a good CFO.”
Atwater says the governor could not have made a better choice.
“This is a man of intellectual strength, curiosity and a passion for this state. And most of all, this is a man of great character,” Atwater said. “I can not imagine a better choice and a better opportunity for 21 million Floridians now to the benefit of your leadership and service.”
After being term-limited out of the Legislature in 2014, Scott appointed Patronis to the state’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities.
In the private sector, Patronis has helped run a successful family restaurant in Panama City and says he will draw from that experience in learning as much as he can from those familiar with the CFO position.
“You got to remember I came from the restaurant business, so everybody is a customer and I really forward to learning as much as I can from those that were stakeholders in this office,” Patronis said with a smile on his face. “Don’t worry. CFO Atwater’s phone is programmed in my phone and I will be using it frequently.”
A second swearing-in ceremony was held outside in the Capitol courtyard at a memorial for firefighters who died in the line of duty. Patronis took the oath of office as state fire marshall.
Patronis will serve through next year when voters will go to the polls to choose the next CFO. He has not indicated if he’ll run for the office. No other Republican has announced if they plan to run for the job next year.
Former state lawmaker and Yahoo executive Jeremy Ring is the only Democrat to file paperwork to run for CFO in 2018.