"Bryan Koon, director of emergency management at Wal-Mart Stores, will replace David Halstead as head of the division that since Hurricane Andrew has become a respected model of emergency response for the nation."
As head of Wal-Mart's emergency response team, Koon oversees a network of emergency responders [?] led by 40 executives who watch over the company's assets from a 4,000-square-foot response center near the company's Bentonville, Ark., headquarters."Scott picks Wal-Mart exec for emergency management".
Aside from coming from a company where "emergency" means company employees are trying to unionize, this fellow seems woefully inexperienced when it comes to real "emergency" experience, like fire-EMS, urban search and rescue, emergency transport, and so forth. After all,
Koon, 39, comes from Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas, where he has been director of the company's emergency management operations since February 2009.See also "Scott names two state agency heads" (Scott puts "a Wal-Mart planner in charge of emergency preparations") and "Scott finds emergency management chief at Wal-Mart".
A former surface warfare officer in the Navy, Koon worked nearly seven years in the White House Military Office. He also worked for SRA International, a Virginia-based homeland security consulting firm.
Bits and Pieces
Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".
On the verge of disaster
"A week before he will be sworn in as Florida's 45th governor, Rick Scott brought his boardroom brand of politics to Tampa on Tuesday during a meeting with 16 lawmakers from the Tampa Bay area." "Scott meets with bay area lawmakers".
"A good ol' boy fatwa"
Daniel Ruth writes that "it would only take Grady Judd getting his badge all in a wad to launch of a good ol' boy fatwa turning Polk County into a First Amendment nuclear winter. " "A case of excessive ego in the first degree".
Haridopolos off and running
"Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos has visited Washington to talk about his expected Senate bid against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who won a second term with 60 percent of the vote in 2006."
George LeMieux, who filled the last 15 months of Republican Mel Martinez' term through an appointment, might also seek Nelson's seat."GOP candidates rush to get into Senate races".
LeMieux is returning to Florida to make room for Marco Rubio, a former speaker of the Florida state House who won election to the Senate this year.
Scott hires lightweight
Is this really the best he could do?
"Scott announced Monday that Indiana Department of Corrections Commissioner Edwin G. Buss will take over the same agency in Florida ... Buss, 45, was appointed to the Indiana job in August 2008 after working as superintendent of two state prisons. He was named the state's prison superintendent of the year in 2005."
In Florida, he will preside over the state's $2.4 billion corrections budget, which Scott has promised to cut by $1 billion."Scott hires outsiders to run prison system".
Buss dealt with budget issues in Indiana, where lawmakers refused to build prisons or cut sentences for certain crimes to handle overcrowding. Indiana has about 29,000 inmates compared to 102,000 in Florida.
To offset the costs in Indiana, Buss cut the prison staff by almost 1,000, according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
Blaming public employees ...
"Local Governments Seek Pension Relief".
... as "police fatalities surge"
"Police Fatalities Surge In 2010"
"A poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to national Democrats, shows that Florida Republicans can expect close primary battles in the presidential race as well as the contest to take on Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson." "PPP Poll Shows Close GOP Primary Battles in 2012".
LeMieux to relax at his old digs
"U.S. Sen. George LeMieux will return to Gunster law firm after leaving office. H. William Perry, the firm's CEO and managing partner, announced today that LeMieux will resume his legal practice Jan. 4 and provide corporate counseling to the firm's clients." "Sen. LeMieux plans to returns to law firm".
Scramble to replace Frederica Wilson
"The election of Democrat Frederica Wilson to Congress last month set off a scramble to replace her in the Florida Senate -- and triggered another race for a Florida House seat. The two elections, scheduled for early in the new year in a pair of overlapping, predominantly black and heavily Democratic districts, will test candidates' ability to draw supporters to the polls so soon after a heated election season left voters fatigued by politics." "Crowd jostles for vacant seat in Florida Senate".
"In Florida, the more things changed in 2010, the more they remain the same heading into 2011."
This year, voters elected a new governor and lieutenant governor -- who will take office Tuesday -- and a new Cabinet. Voters also gave Republicans in both the state House and Senate even greater majorities."New faces, old problems".
Yet, as Floridians and their state government approach 2011 and face the prospect of change in governance, there is a strong sense of deja vu. ...
The recommendations on health care, including Medicaid, are dominated by a diatribe against the federal health-care reform law; what the state really needs are practical proposals on health care, including elder care, that control costs while providing quantifiable improvement in services.
Similarly, the proposals on education, made by a committee that didn't include a single teacher working in today's public classrooms, are heavily weighted toward private-school vouchers and the addition of charter schools -- even though directing public dollars to most private schools violates the state's constitution and charter schools in Florida have not generally outperformed conventional public schools.
The rest of us to subsidize business power bills
"The transition team of Gov.-elect Rick Scott is quietly mulling a plan to have residential power customers pick up the tab for a cut in business utility rates, the News Service of Florida reports." "Scott reportedly weighing plan to cut business power bills, with citizens paying the difference".
Florida's consumer confidence
"Florida's consumer confidence level remains unchanged in December".
Will commissioners appoint the next Miami-Dade mayor?
Jackie Bueno Sousa: "The Miami-Dade County Commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the anticipated mayoral recall election. But the most interesting aspect of their discussion could center on a little-noted uncertainty: whether commissioners, in the event of a mayoral recall, will appoint the next county mayor." "2011 could be a year to recall in Miami-Dade".
Another fine Florida resident
"Think Progress has discovered that recent television commercials featuring Florida resident and former Gov. Mike Huckabee rallying viewers to sign a repeal petition against Obama’s health care reform measures are part of a campaign managed by 949 Media Group, a firm run by a notorious scam artist known for bilking struggling homeowners seeking to renegotiate their mortgages." "NWF Daily News: 'They just don’t know what’s out there': State funding to help pay for employment programs".
Scott puts off rail decision
"Gov.-elect Rick Scott told reporters Tuesday he is awaiting a feasibility study on a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando due in February before deciding whether to take billions in federal dollars for the project, according to the St. Petersburg Times." "Scott says high-speed rail study due in February".
Martinez mixed up in torture cover-up?
"Over the weekend, The Miami Herald used documents unearthed by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks to publish an interesting account of how the U.S. government worked to convince Spanish officials not to pursue an investigation into accusations of torture made against senior U.S. officials — an effort that included pressure brought by former Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla." "WikiLeaks: Former Sen. Martinez worked to squelch Spanish torture investigation".
Southwest Florida rebound
"Southwest Florida's rebound is hardly robust".
Fasano goes after elected official pensions
"If the Florida Legislature is going to make up the $3.5 billion deficit facing the state by reducing spending, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, thinks elected officials should start by cutting their own benefits. Fasano filed a bill this month that would reduce the contributions the state makes to elected officials’ retirement funds from 3 percent to 2 percent. Judges’ contributions would fall from 3.33 percent to 2 percent. The bill would apply to all levels of government, including local elected officials." "Sen. Mike Fasano Seeks Cuts in Retirement Benefits for Elected Officials".