Move over Stephen Ross, you’re no longer Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford least favorite person in the political process. That designation now belongs to state Senator Greg Evers, according to a couple of well-placed, chatty sources in House leadership.
Evers’ reserved place in Weatherford’s doghouse is in response to Evers’ brunt comment that it would “be snowing in Miami” before Weatherford’s long-sough pension reform passed the Florida Senate.
Weatherford tried and failed to last year to prohibit new employees from enrolling in the state pension plan, which provides a guaranteed return, and steer them into private 401(k)-style plans, that are subject to the swings of the market.
Evers made his comments at a news conference with the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 20,000 sworn officers who are currently enrolled in the state’s $135 billion pension system that pays for the retirement of 1 million current employees, including teachers, and county and state agency workers.
Asked for a reaction, Weatherford played it cool — “We expect the House’s pension reform to be filed in the next few weeks — but behind the scenes, the Speaker’s Office has let it be known that so long as Weatherford’s pension reform bill is DOA in the Senate, all of Sen. Greg Evers’ legislation is DOA in the House.
One source in the House jokingly described how a “No-tracker” has been placed on every one of Evers’ bills and amendments.
Asked to describe Weatherford’s actualy reaction to Evers’ comments, a second House source may have implied that the Speaker channeled Robert DeNiro ala “The Untouchables.”
Let’s hope Weatherford does not have a baseball bat nearby.
Material from Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times was used in this post.