Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scott & Bondi Rewriting How Florida Cabinet Works

The Florida House caucus wrote a letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi, asking her to investigate protesters being thrown out of Gov. Rick Scott's budget signing at the Villages. Many were residents of the Villages. Here is what I wrote at the time.


I am not holding out hope for Bondi and Atwater doing a muckraking investigation.


It turns out I am right. Bondi says the Florida constitution forbids the state's attorney general from investigating the governor.


“Throughout my nearly two decades in public service, I have been committed to transparency and open government,” Florida’s top legal officer, a Republican, wrote. “While I do not take lightly the questions you have raised, Florida law does not empower me to investigate your concerns.”


Exactly what part of the law says that Bondi is forbidden from investigating Scott's office? The office of attorney general is not appointed by the governor. Scott can't hire or fire the attorney general. Bondi ran for election and serves the people of Florida. The law set up the attorney general's office to be independent from the governor.

Apparently Scott is rewriting the Florida constitution. Check out the Division of Library and Information Services. The site is run by the state. The site declares the other cabinet members having illegal responsibilities.


The Constitution declares that each Cabinet member "shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be prescribed by law." In effect, that gives the Cabinet officers powers equal to the governor. This system violates a basic rule of government. That is, giving an elected official the authority to perform a duty and then be officially fully responsible, for under this system the governor is held responsible but does not have the authority or means to fulfill that responsibility.


Division of Library and Information Services web site also incorrectly states that the cabinet was designed to be like a corporation.


The EXECUTIVE branch is the law-administering and law-enforcing branch of the government. It is patterned along the lines of a large corporation with the governor serving as chairman of the board and the three independently elected cabinet members serving as directors. The governor is elected for a four-year term and may serve two terms in succession. The lieutenant governor is elected as running mate of the governor. Members of the Cabinet are elected to four year terms and may succeed themselves for any number of terms. All of the many agencies and departments that are responsible for programs in Florida State government are also part of the Executive Branch.


Scott and Bondi are literally making up new laws on how Florida's cabinet works. Scott has declared the cabinet has illegal powers. This is amazing.

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