Statistics show Gov. Scott's staff 'less diverse' but isn't this a case of splitting hairs?

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Trumpeted across today’s newspaper is the headline “Scott staff less diverse” with a story about how records show Scott has hired fewer black, Hispanic and Asian worker than his predecessor, Charlie Crist.

“Among the top three levels of Scott’s staff, which have 280 workers, 18.5 percent identified themselves as minority.  That compares to 21.5 percent when Charlie Crist was governed.”

In human terms, that means Scott has hired about 52 people who identify themselves as a minority.   Assuming Crist had the same size staff, 60 of his staffers identified themselves as a minority. That’s a difference of eight people.

Eight people!

And yet, in reaction to this news, State Sen. Tony Hill is incensed; because of a difference of two car loads, State Representative Darryl Rouson is up in arms.

In case they missed it, Rick Scott is a conservative Republican. For a variety of reasons, conservative Republicanism doesn’t sit well in the African-American community.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that Rick Scott did not win more than 10% of the black vote during the last election.  But now, the governor is suppose to turn around and hire folks who may not agree with him just to meet some sort of imaginary racial quota?

This whole issue has come about because it was revealed former Governor Jeb Bush sent an email to Scott questioning the firing of three African American women who had worked for multiple governors.

“I don’t quite understand this decision,” Bush wrote.  In another email, Bush added: “All three are African-Americans, non-political and good workers.”

Far be it for me to defend Rick Scott to Jeb Bush, but the fact that the women were African-American should not have mattered, one way or another.  The only thing that should matter is, as Bush attests, if they were good workers.

One of the people who was fired, Mavis Knight, held the No. 2 position in the appointments office.  Well, with apologies to Mavis, who is universally respected, if not beloved, the governor should have his own people in the appointments office, not holdovers from previous administrations.

An aside about Jeb Bush’s email; how ironic is it that the governor known for ending affirmative action in the state is now the one advocating a micro-version of affirmative action?

In closing, I have to agree with Scott’s spokesman Brian Burgess, who said “We can all acknowledge there is room for improvement.”  He made this statement with a wink towards the St. Petersburg Times editorial board, which, since Bill Maxwell’s is lily-white.

Update: Just taking a look at and, funny, I can’t find this story, so critical of the Scott administration, on the site.


Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.