Rick Scott announces two judicial, 5 regulatory board appointments

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Gov. Rick Scott announced two judicial and six regulatory board appointments this week, including Kim Vance, who was already a candidate for the Hillsborough County court in 2014.

Hillsborough County Court

Kim Hernandez Vance, 53, is a Tampa native and a partner with GrayRobinson, where she has been a commercial litigator since 2005. She began her legal career in 1997 with Rahdert, Anderson, McGowen & Steele in Tampa. Vance was a member of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council from 2006-2013 and served on the Gulf Ridge Council Hispanic Outreach Committee from 2007-2008. She was formally a Certified Public Accountant from 1987 to 1995.

Vance was also running as a candidate for Hillsborough County Circuit Court, Group 19, the seat currently held by retiring Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr.

Vance fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge James V. Dominguez.

“With many years of legal service in Hillsborough County, I am confident Kim will continue her dedicated service to Florida families on the County bench,” Scott said.

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court

Judge Edward Merrigan, 51, of Fort Lauderdale, currently serves as a Broward County Court Judge. He also serves as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. Merrigan began his legal career in 1989 as an attorney with Houston & Shahady, holding several other positions, including corporate counsel, until his appointment to the County Court in 2009. Merrigan served during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Eileen M. O’Connor.

“Ed Merrigan has not only served South Florida communities throughout his legal career, but has also protected the freedoms and opportunities of all Americans through his service in the U.S. Army,” said Scott. “I am confident his experience will make him a great Circuit Judge. I look forward to his service to Florida families on the Circuit bench.”

Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board

Michael Babb, 36, of Tampa, is the president of Two Rivers Ranch. His reappointment is for a term ending March 1, 2018.

His appointment is subject to Florida Senate confirmation.

Florida Citrus Commission

Jonathan “Ned” Hancock, 56, of Sebring, is owner and president of Hancock Citrus Inc. He succeeds Jesse Clark for a term ending June 30, 2016.

Francisco Pines, 38, of Pinecrest, is owner and general counsel of Pines Ranch Inc. He succeeds Michael Taylor for a term ending June 30, 2016.

Michael Garavaglia, 46, of Vero Beach, is president and general partner of The Packers of Indian River Ltd. His reappointment is for a term ending June 30, 2016.

The appointments are subject to Florida Senate confirmation.

Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board

George Roberts, 50, of Panama City, is vice president of Roberts & Roberts Inc. His appointment is for a term ending March 1, 2018.

His appointment is subject to Florida Senate confirmation.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.