If you're reading this, there's a better-than-solid chance you didn't vote to reelect Governor Rick Scott. Though judging by the anemic turnout last November, there's also an excellent likelihood you didn't vote at all.
But that's all water off a duck's back now. The important thing is, Governor Rick Scott is catching grief over last month's departure of the state's top law enforcement official, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey — enough that even his close political allies are starting to show concern.
Scott claims Bailey left his post voluntarily; Bailey says he didn't.
The Tampa Bay Times suggested last week the ouster may have stemmed from Bailey's refusal to help Scott's re-election campaign out of concern that it would have been inappropriate for his agency to get involved in politics.
The Times also reported Bailey has also said Scott's aides in 2013 tried to get him to falsely claim that then-acting Orange County clerk of court Colleen Reilly was being investigated in conjunction with an incident in which inmates forged documents to escape prison, an incident that served as a blemish on Scott's record.
Bailey refused, but Scott's people deny that it ever took place.
"Unfortunately, weeks after stepping down honorably — and only after the new FDLE commissioner was approved by the full Cabinet — Gerald Bailey began making ridiculous attacks,'' Scott spokesperson Jackie Schutz told the News Service of Florida in an email. "Our office will be providing detailed information on the accusations shortly."
There are also allegations that Scott tried to get FDLE to prematurely end criminal investigations of political appointees, etc.
Fallout from the allegations has gotten so bad, Scott's cabinet members are poised to look into what happened. News Service of Florida is reporting that on Thursday, Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said they are willing to talk about "the need for an investigation" of Bailey's dismissal at their next cabinet meeting.
"There should be some follow-up to those allegations and whether they were incidents of illegal activity versus sloppy campaign official-type of interactions that occurred," Putnam told reporters after an Enterprise Florida meeting in Tallahassee Thursday.
Even Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Scott crony extraordinaire, has said the firing warrants some "serious" looking into.
Some members of the media think this is the biggest scandal to hit the governor's office yet. (Again, yet. He's presumably got a few more years to top this one.)
Scott's people told the Times that because Scott is such a businessman, sometimes he does business-y things like abruptly firing people, you know, because of business.
Scott himself couldn't make words when he was asked about it Wednesday after a press conference in which he talked about business — er, STEM education programs that help business.
The cabinet next meets on Feb. 5th. Usually that meeting occurs in conjunction with the start of the Florida State Fair in Tampa, and takes place near the fairgrounds, but will likely instead take place in the Capitol.
"We need to have a more normal location and platform to have these conversations than the agenda that typically occurs when we're holding a Cabinet (meeting) on the road," Putnam said.