Florida TaxWatch announces series of new hires, internal promotions

by | Jul 18, 2023

  • Florida TaxWatch has announced a series of new hires and staff promotions to strengthen its team.
  • Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp heads the list of new staff members, joining as Executive Vice President and General Counsel.
  • The taxpayer research institute also added a collection of new research specialists and communications personnel.

Florida TaxWatch, one of the state’s leading taxpayer research institutes and government watchdogs, announced a series of new hires and staff promotions on Tuesday to bolster its team.

Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp will assume the role of Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Kottkamp provides legislative experience to Florida TaxWatch, having served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2006 and as Florida’s 17th Lieutenant Governor from 2007 until 2011 under Charlie Crist.

Meredith Pelton joins the watchdog as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. Prior to her hiring, Pelton held the position of Executive Director for the Florida Commission for Independent Education, while Kayley Cox has been brought on as Communications and Engagement Manager.

“This is an extremely exciting time for Florida TaxWatch. Our staff are the backbone of our organization and the driver behind the important work we do on behalf of taxpayers,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “We are proud to build on over four decades of excellence and strengthen our already incredibly talented team by bringing so many accomplished professionals on board, while also recognizing and rewarding those who have been with us for some time and continually go above and beyond.”

Jessica Cimijotti has been hired as a Research Analyst, bringing regulatory compliance experience from her previous position as a senior analyst at a Big Four financial institution. Jui Shah, a recent graduate with a Master of Science in Applied Economics from the University of Maryland, assumes the role of Research Economist with a focus on educational policy and sustainable development.

Shane O’Conner will take on the position of Investor Services Coordinator while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History at Florida State University. The organization also issued an internal promotion, including Meg Cannan, who has been promoted to a senior research analyst role.

Last month, Florida TaxWatch published its annual Budget Turkey Watch Report, identifying 218 appropriation items totaling $597.6 million within Florida’s $117 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24.

In the report, Florida TaxWatch advocates for a more strategic and accountable approach to the allocation of funds in Florida’s budget. The group contends that the state should prioritize statewide needs over purely local projects and recommend implementing a competitive review and selection process for various areas such as water projects, transportation, housing, and more.

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