In a personnel move being described as an attempt to ‘centralize power’, Senate President Designate Don Gaetz will poach Carol Gormley from the Florida House’s Health and Human Services Committee where Gromley has served as Staff Director.
The forthcoming announcement will be the second one related to Gaetz’s efforts to rebuild the staff of the Senate President’s office which has been depleted since, well, honestly, since Mike Haridopolos decided to stop running for the US Senate. Last week, Gaetz named House communications director Katie Betta as his new spokesman.
Gormley is a highly-regarded health care policy expert who has worked for both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Hers is not a household name outside of Tallahassee, but trust me, Gormley is one of the most influential legislative bureaucrats in the capital.
With Gormley’s hiring, it appears Gaetz will implement/reinstitute a staff organizational plan in which there is a layer of policy directors in the Senate President’s office who are above the committee staff directors.
“It’s obvious that Gaetz saw how the House dictated to the Senate during the last two sessions,” a former senior Senate staffer said. “So he’s doing two things here: a) grabbing up whatever talent he can out of the House and b) centralizing that talent in his office, rather than throughout the committees.”
While Gaetz shores up his staff, incoming Speaker Designate Will Weatherford is holding pat. “Don’t expect a lot surprises when he announces his people,” says a House staffer expected to remain on under Weatherford. “The House has a well-oiled machine. It’s just ‘won’ the last two session. Don’t fix what ain’t broke.”