Gov. Scott names new exec. director of DEO; names Pete Antonacci as his general counsel

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Governor Rick Scott today named his General Counsel, Jesse Panuccio, as the next Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity. Governor Scott also announced that outgoing Fifteenth Circuit State Attorney Peter Antonacci will succeed Panuccio as the Governor’s General Counsel.

Governor Scott said, “Jesse’s unparalleled work ethic and intellectual capacity will be a much needed catalyst for progress at DEO – an agency that plays a critical role in our mission to create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families. Jesse has skillfully represented our office and the people of Florida in important legal cases over the last two years and we are excited to have him devote his energy and skill to another vital part of state government. We are also honored to have Peter Antonacci join our team. His decades of incredible legal experience and public service to the people of Florida will be an invaluable addition to our office.”

Panuccio, a graduate of Harvard Law School, joined the Administration in early 2011 as the Governor’s Deputy General Counsel.  The Governor named him General Counsel in 2012.  In these roles, Panuccio managed the legal affairs and staff of the Governor’s office, helped direct and coordinate litigation and legal policy across state agencies, advised the Governor on over eighty judicial nominations, and served as the Governor’s chief ethics officer.

Antonacci was appointed as the State Attorney for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County by Governor Scott and previously served as the Statewide Prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General. In 1987 and 2005, Antonacci represented Governors Graham and Bush as special senate prosecuting counsel for the impeachment trials of supervisors of elections. Antonacci also served as a member of the Florida Commission on Ethics from 2001 to 2005. He has a law degree from Florida State University and was a GrayRobinson shareholder prior to his service as State Attorney.

Panuccio will continue serving as the Governor’s General Counsel through January 7, 2013.  Antonacci’s appointment to serve as the Governor’s General Counsel will begin on January 8, 2013. Current DEO Chief of Staff Darrick McGhee will serve as Acting Director of DEO through January 7th, and on January 8th McGhee will begin his new position as the Governor’s Director of Legislative Affairs (this date is moved back from McGhee’s December 10th previously announced start date).

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.