Cronyism continues to thrive in the Governor's Mansion. The State Board of Education should be a bastion of people immersed in learning and dedicated to advancing student opportunities and success.
Instead, Gov. Rick Scott filled the seat held by John Colon, who resigned when the governor appointed him to the Manatee County School Board, with a close friend, a pal with little experience in education. Plus, Tom Grady carries a history of dubious personal spending as during his brief time as the interim president of Citizens Property Insurance in 2012. He booked expensive hotel rooms and airplane trips, took limo rides and even spent three nights in Bermuda, all on the taxpayers' dime.
Grady is a wealthy securities lawyer from Naples, which happens to be the home of his buddy and patron, Scott.
Grady lost a permanent appointment to lead Citizens when his lavish spending practices became public knowledge, and he went back to the private sector.
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Education champions groaned over the appointment with one pinpointing the overriding issue. "Just what we needed. Another non-educator to have zero understanding of best education practices and policy," lamented Cindy Hamilton, leader of Opt Out Orlando.
This is vintage Scott. And a contributor to his low voter approval rating. The latest survey shows 47 percent disapprove of his job performance while 44 percent approve.
Scott ranks as the eighth least popular governor in the nation, according to the Morning Consult months-long survey of more than 76,000 voters across the country between May and November.
(The No. 1 dishonor belongs to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback with his 65 percent disapproval rating.)
Scott's propensity for cronyism is only one mark against him.
Should he launch a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018, as has been widely rumored, he'll need a massive war chest to wage another scorched earth campaign against opponents, one that confuses the electorate and deflects attention away from his record.
Or he could reverse course and build a positive record. That would be something to see.