TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Gov.-elect Rick Scott on Tuesday tapped a retired Army colonel and former congressional candidate to be his chief of staff and announced several other appointments, including those of a couple Tallahassee lobbyists.
The announcements from Scott's transition office come just two weeks before he is to be sworn in as Florida's next governor, succeeding Charlie Crist on Jan. 4.
The Republican's transition is proceeding so slowly that he's asked most of Crist's agency heads and other top staffers to rescind their resignations and stay for up to three more months.
Mike Prendergast, a Tampa native who retired from the Army after 31 years, will serve as chief of staff. He served in the military police and as a foreign area and legislative liaison officer.
The Apollo Beach Republican last month lost a bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa.
Scott issued a statement saying Prendergast will serve as his chief operating officer "with precision and unwavering ethical rigor."
"Moreover, Mike's outsider status gives him the ability to evaluate and manage issues and agencies from a perspective untainted by the business as usual culture in Tallahassee," Scott said.
A couple of his other appointees, though, are consummate Tallahassee insiders: Hayden Dempsey as special counsel and Jon Costello as legislative affairs director.
Dempsey is a lobbyist and lawyer who was legislative affairs director during the administration of Gov. Jeb Bush and also served as Bush's deputy general counsel.
He has been serving as public affairs director for the Greenberg Traurig law firm, where his duties included lobbying. His clients included the Florida Association of Health Plans, United Healthcare Services, Enterprise Leasing Co. of Florida, the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the City of North Port and the Florida Association of Court Clerks & Comptrollers.
Costello, a former Air Force acquisition manager who was a policy adviser to Scott during his gubernatorial campaign, most recently has been a Tallahassee lobbyist.
His clients have included the Florida Cable Telecommunications Association, the Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers, HCA Healthcare, Kraft Foods, beer giant MillerCoors, T-Mobile, the city of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County and some dog racing tracks.
Scott appointed Mary Anne Carter as his chief adviser. She's a longtime business adviser to Scott who has been serving as executive director of his transition. She previously was executive director of Conservatives for Patients' Rights, an organization that opposes President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Brian Burgess, who was communications director for Scott's campaign, will have the same job in the governor's office. He previously worked for corporate and political clients as a senior account executive at CRC Public Relations in Alexandria, Va.
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