Politics & Government

Cabinet Trifecta: Bondi shares misgivings about Bailey ouster

Attorney General Pam Bondi made it unanimous Thursday, joining fellow Cabinet members in dissing Gov. Rick Scott’s removal of Gerald Bailey from his perch atop the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

"Attorney General Bondi is dissatisfied with the manner in which this matter was handled," stated Bondi spokeswoman Jenn Meale in an email to the Times/Herald.

Meale sent the one-sentence statement Thursday, joining Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, who made similar statements.

It’s quite the turnaround for all three, who only two days before unanimously supported Scott’s appointment of Rick Swearingen as Bailey’s replacement.

What made their reversal all the more remarkable was Bailey, by Tuesday, had said he had been forced out by Scott. He even stated Scott’s general counsel told him in December the governor had the concurrence of all three cabinet members.

Bondi refused to answer questions Tuesday about whether she communicated with Scott’s administration about removing Bailey, or if she asked why he was being removed. Like Putnam and Atwater, Bondi expressed no reservations at the time about the shakeup.

That was then. Since then, a media firestorm has erupted as revelations suggest the personnel move was politically motivated.

So if all three are now expressing concerns about how Bailey was removed, will they reconvene the Cabinet, as they have the power to do, to reconsider the issue (and help disprove growing evidence that they are a tool of the governor)? Are they now saying that Scott did not have their concurrence on removing Bailey? Or did Scott have their concurrence, but only because he misled them?

The public awaits more information.