The Florida Lottery on Thursday confirmed that three top officials had turned in their resignations—but wouldn’t say why.
Secretary Jim Poppell “is committed to the Lottery fulfilling its mission of funding education for Florida’s students,” spokeswoman Connie Barnes said in an email. The Lottery’s profits go into the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which pays for Florida Bright Futures Scholarships, among other things.
“The department anticipates filling the General Counsel and Legislative Affairs position within the next week,” Barnes added. “We are currently evaluating how to best to utilize the Deputy Secretary (of Administration) position.”
She did not, however, provide copies of resignation letters or explain under what circumstances the three had left the agency.
But one insider told FloridaPolitics.com that the resignations are part of a “housecleaning” by Poppell, appointed by Gov. Rick Scott last month to replace Tom Delacenserie, now the head of the Kentucky Lottery. Poppell had been the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s chief of staff.
“There have been a lot of complaints about the Lottery, mostly from vendors about the department’s procurement process,” said the source, who asked not to be identified. “I think Poppell was given a mandate to clean house as the Lottery is a high priority for Gov. Scott … Three top people just don’t coincidentally decide to quit at the same time.”
Michael Manley had been Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Legislative Affairs, with a listed salary of $80,000. Josefina “Josie” Tamayo, a former circuit judge in Tallahassee, was General Counsel with a salary of $109,074 a year.
Tamayo, who’s held several top legal positions in state government over the years, was appointed a judge in 2010 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. She was defeated in a 2012 election for her seat by Tallahassee attorney Barbara Hobbs and left the bench.