Florida Chief Financial Officer-elect Jeff Atwater today (Jan. 3) announced the appointment of his management team, including Robert “Budd” Kneip who will serve as Chief of Staff, PK Jameson as General Counsel, and three deputies who will oversee key areas of the Department of Financial Services. Atwater also announced appointments to his Legislative Affairs and Communications offices.
“In assembling this team, I sought individuals who have been successful entrepreneurs outside of state government as well those who are experienced government innovators,” said CFO-elect Atwater. “This team shares my commitment and vision to increasing transparency and accountability to taxpayers, to fighting fraud and eliminating government waste, and to fostering economic growth and prosperity. I am honored these accomplished individuals are joining me in bringing open and accountable stewardship to the CFO’s office.”
CFO-elect Atwater also announced today that he is aggressively recruiting experienced and results-oriented leaders to oversee two of his priority areas in the agency. One deputy will oversee divisions focused on combating insurance, Medicaid and public assistance fraud; and investigating arson. The other will be charged with increasing vigilance, transparency and accountability of state funds and contracts, in the divisions of Accounting and Auditing, Treasury and Information Systems.
The Chief of Staff and new management team are charged with ensuring that CFO-elect Atwater’s goals for the Department of Financial Services are carried out through 16 different divisions and offices in the agency. New appointments include:
Robert Kneip, Chief of Staff - Dr. Kneip began his career with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission before joining The Wackenut Corporation in 1982. In 1996, Dr. Kneip founded Oasis Outsourcing, a business process outsourcing company, and grew the company to more than $1 billion in revenues. He has received numerous awards for his business and civic contributions, including the Excalibur Award as the Palm Beach County Business Leader of the year in 2004 by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in 2004 for civic contributions by the North Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, and the Legends of South Florida award in 2005 given by South Florida CEO.
PK Jameson, General Counsel - Ms. Jameson earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Florida State University in 1989. She practiced law in the private sector in insurance, workers’ compensation, contracts and social security, before beginning her career in public service. Ms. Jameson has worked as a Senior Advisor in the Senate, and served in the House of Representatives as Staff Director of the Committees on Judiciary, Real Property and Probate, Procedural and Redistricting Council, and Chief of Staff. She also worked in the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget and served as the General Counsel and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
Tami Torres-Ms. Torres began her career working in communications, marketing and legislative advocacy for two statewide trade associations. After seven years in the private sector, she joined the Florida Senate, working for three years in communications, media relations and policy development. In 2001, Ms. Torres was recruited to manage communications for Florida’s Insurance Commissioner and subsequently the Chief Financial Officer. At the Department of Financial Services, she has served as the Executive Director of the My Safe Florida Home program and, most recently, as the Director of the Division of Consumer Services. Ms. Torres will oversee the Offices of Cabinet, Communications and Legislative Affairs.
Paul Whitfield - Mr. Whitfield began his tenure in the legislative branch in the House of Representatives, where he served as Staff Director for economic development and trade concerns. In 2003, he was recruited by then-Governor Jeb Bush to serve as Policy Coordinator in the Office of Policy and Budget. Mr. Whitfield returned to the legislative branch to work for then-Senate President Atwater as a Policy Advisor. In this advisory role, his key accomplishments included assisting in the development and passage of statewide passenger rail legislation, property insurance reforms and the execution of the Seminole Gaming Compact. Mr. Whitfield will oversee the Budget Office and the divisions of Agent and Agency Services, Funeral and Cemetery Services, Rehabilitation and Liquidation, and Workers Compensation.
Karen Chandler - Ms. Chandler began her career in the Office of the Governor. She continued serving in the executive branch at the Departments of Insurance and Education, focusing on communications. Ms. Chandler then served as Communications Director for three consecutive Senate Presidents. In 2003, she was appointed Deputy Chief Financial Officer and oversaw several divisions within the Department of Financial Services. Ms. Chandler owned and operated a small retail business in Tallahassee for nine years while working full-time in state government. Ms. Chandler will oversee the Scheduling and Appointments Office and the divisions of Administration, Consumer Services and Risk Management.
Additional appointments to the CFO’s office include:
Robert Tornillo, Director of Cabinet Affairs - Mr. Tornillo has more than 25 years experience working in the executive branch of Florida government. Since 1988, he has served as an advisor to four statewide elected cabinet officers. Mr. Tornillo has a degree in criminology from Florida State University and served three years with the Florida Marine Patrol as a crime analyst.
Ashley Mayer, Director of Legislative Affairs – Ms. Mayer has practiced law in the private sector in the areas of administrative law, appellate, insurance regulatory law, and legislative affairs, representing the Safety Net Hospital Alliance, Shands Health Care, the Florida Justice Reform Institute, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and various property and casualty insurance carriers. She has worked as a Florida Bar Public Service Fellow and in the Florida Senate Committee on Education.
Alexis Lambert, Press Secretary, Office of Communications - Ms. Lambert, a Tallahassee native, began her public sector career in Governor Bush's Office of External Affairs. Since receiving her degree in communications, she has served as Press Secretary for the Department of Community Affairs, Agency for Workforce Innovation and, for the last four years, with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.