Steve MacNamara, who brought Tallahassee experience to the outsider administration of Gov. Rick Scott after a rocky beginning to the former businessman’s tenure, resigned Saturday as Scott’s chief of staff, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
Scott quickly named Adam Hollingsworth, a former chief of staff to former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, as MacNamara’s replacement.
The move, effective July 1, came amid a series of stories from the Associated Press and the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau about MacNamara’s role in a shake-up of Scott’s administration and state contracts.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor serving you, but the recent media attention I have been receiving has begun to interfere with the day-to-day operations of this office,” MacNamara said in his resignation letter. “I feel now is the time to plan for me to depart, for you to name my replacement and for us to work on a smooth transition.”
The AP reported that the move came hours after the organization asked about MacNamara’s involvement in a software contract with the Department of Education. MacNamara had also faced stories in recent days about his role in at least one other contract and the ousting of some agency heads. And there were questions about whether he bent travel policies for Florida’s film commissioner, a friend.
MacNamara instead focused in his resignation letter on the administration’s accomplishments during his time as chief of staff, which started in July. And he highlighted efforts to overhaul Scott’s public image; the governor has seen a slight uptick in his poll numbers in recent months after his first few months in office were met with overwhelming disapproval by Florida voters.
“It is my belief that I have helped Floridians begin to know the real Rick Scott — a man who listens to them, tries to understand their issues and concerns, and works diligently to help solve their problems,” MacNamara wrote.
MacNamara again pointed out that he planned to leave Scott’s administration by the end of the year in any event.
In a statement issued by his office, Scott praised MacNamara.
“I believe Steve has had a tremendous impact me and Ann as well as my administration and our state,” Scott said. “I respect his efforts and ideas. I have a great deal of confidence in his ability to assist me and my staff through the upcoming weeks as we transition to a new chief of staff.”
Hollingsworth is not unknown to the governor; he is credited by some with helping to broker a sort of truce between Scott and the Republican Party of Florida after much of the establishment backed former Attorney General Bill McCollum in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.