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Florida Governor Top Aide Resigns in Wake of Disclosures

By: Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida; AP Email
By: Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida; AP Email

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, May 14, 2012

Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

Steve MacNamara, who brought Tallahassee experience to the outsider administration of Gov. Rick Scott after a rocky beginning to the former businessman's tenure, resigned Saturday as Scott's chief of staff.

Scott quickly named Adam Hollingsworth, a former chief of staff to former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, as MacNamara's replacement.

The move, effective July 1, came amid a series of stories from the Associated Press and the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau about MacNamara's role in a shake-up of Scott's administration and state contracts.

"It has been a pleasure and an honor serving you, but the recent media attention I have been receiving has begun to interfere with the day-to-day operations of this office," MacNamara said in his resignation letter. "I feel now is the time to plan for me to depart, for you to name my replacement and for us to work on a smooth transition."

The AP reported that the move came hours after the organization asked about MacNamara's involvement in a software contract with the Department of Education. MacNamara had also faced stories in recent days about his role in at least one other contract and the ousting of some agency heads. And there were questions about whether he bent travel policies for Florida's film commissioner, a friend.

MacNamara instead focused in his resignation letter on the administration's accomplishments during his time as chief of staff, which started in July. And he highlighted efforts to overhaul Scott's public image; the governor has seen a slight uptick in his poll numbers in recent months after his first few months in office were met with overwhelming disapproval by Florida voters.

"It is my belief that I have helped Floridians begin to know the real Rick Scott -- a man who listens to them, tries to understand their issues and concerns, and works diligently to help solve their problems," MacNamara wrote.

MacNamara again pointed out that he planned to leave Scott's administration by the end of the year in any event.

In a statement issued by his office, Scott praised MacNamara.

"I believe Steve has had a tremendous impact me and Ann as well as my administration and our state," Scott said. "I respect his efforts and ideas. I have a great deal of confidence in his ability to assist me and my staff through the upcoming weeks as we transition to a new chief of staff."

Hollingsworth is not unknown to the governor; he is credited by some with helping to broker a sort of truce between Scott and the Republican Party of Florida after much of the establishment backed former Attorney General Bill McCollum in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- May 12, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff is resigning from his job amid a series of news stories detailing his on the job performance and handling of contracts.

Steve MacNamara announced on Saturday in an email that he would step down from his post July 1.

MacNamara, who is also a professor at Florida State University, was hired last year to help Scott after the governor's first few bumpy months in office. He was credited with helping the governor strengthen his relationship with the GOP-controlled Legislature. MacNamara was previously the chief of staff for Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

The Associated Press recently reported that while working for the Senate MacNamara helped steer a $360,000 no-bid consulting contract to a friend who now leads a task force rooting out state government waste.

Governor Scott Thanks Steve MacNamara, Praises His Work

“I’m grateful for Steve’s invaluable assistance in helping advance my agenda to strengthen education, create jobs, and lower the cost of living for Floridians. Over the past 10 months, thanks to his expertise and guidance, we added $1 billion for education, we passed a job creation and economic development package, we passed accident fraud reform, and thanks to him, we implemented many positive changes to the way the State of Florida does business.

Our openness and transparency has been praised as ground breaking. I believe Steve has had a tremendous impact me and Ann as well as my administration and our state. I respect his efforts and ideas. I have a great deal of confidence in his ability to assist me and my staff through the upcoming weeks as we transition to a new chief of staff. Ann and I look forward to continue building our friendship with Steve and his wife, Liberty.”

Appoints Adam Hollingsworth as Replacement

Governor Scott has appointed Jacksonville native Adam Hollingsworth, 43, to replace outgoing chief of staff Steve MacNamara. Hollingsworth currently leads the right-of-way division for Flagler Development Group. He formerly served as Chief of Staff to Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. Hollingsworth and his wife, Amy, have two children, ages four and two.


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