RPOF STAFF Incoming RPOF Chair Blaise Ingoglia announced interim staff assignments at the Republican Party of Florida. David Johnson will serve as the interim executive; Brad Herold as the deputy executive director; Sarah Bascom of Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, as the interim communications director and advisor in a volunteer capacity; Lyndsey Cruley, also from Bascom, as the interim press secretary in a volunteer capacity; and Daniel Norby, a partner with the Tallahassee law office of Shutts & Bowen LLP, as the general counsel. Coates Law Firm, PA, will continue to provide legal counsel to the Party. George Riley, formerly the RPOF’s political director, has been promoted to the director of party affairs and development and Jordan Gibson will serve as the digital director.
REPUBLICAN STATE LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE Chair Bill McCollum, former Florida Attorney General and Congressman, announced former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford will join its board of directors.
FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY The Florida Democratic Party has hired Phillip Thompson as its deputy executive director. Thompson served as deputy campaign manager for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Thompson will join the FDP in March, replacing Christian Ulvert who served as the Party’s political director.
ATTORNEY GENERAL Attorney General Pam Bondi named Trey Stapleton as director of public affairs and Whitney Ray as director of media relations.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced Jennifer Meale as his new communications director. Meale served for four years as Attorney General Pam Bondi’s communications director. Aaron Keller, former communications coordinator, has been promoted to deputy press secretary.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Florida CFO Jeff Atwater has appointed Jon Miller as the new communications director, Ben Murphy as his deputy legislative affairs director and Elizabeth Boyd as legislative affairs director. Ashley Carr will be the Department’s chief spokesperson.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH Jennifer Tschetter has been appointed as DOH Secretary John Armstrong’s chief of staff. Tschetter previously served as DOH’s general counsel.
HOUSE LEADERSHIP Florida House Majority Leader Dana Young (R-Tampa) and Majority Whip Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) announced the appointment of Representatives Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland), Julio Gonzalez (R-Venice), David Santiago (R-Deltona), and Charlie Stone (R-Ocala) as House Majority Deputy Whips for the 2015-2016 legislative term.
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER CHANGES Representative Travis Hutson (R- Palm Coast) is no longer on the House Judiciary Committee. Representative John Wood (R-Winter Haven) has moved from the House State Affairs Committee to the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Tom Goodson (R-Titusville) has been placed on the House State Affairs Committee.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION Michael Olenick, vice president of corporate affairs and chief compliance officer of The Morganti Group, has been appointed to the Board of Education.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Commissioner Pam Stewart has appointed Hershell Lyons as the new K-12 public schools chancellor. Lyons previously served as deputy superintendent of schools in Alachua County.
FORMER DCF SECRETARY Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has selected former Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon to run that state’s Department of Children and Family Services. Sheldon, a former Florida lawmaker, recently held a post in the Obama administration and ran Florida’s DCF under former Governor Charlie Crist. He unsuccessfully ran for Florida attorney general last fall.
TAMPA BAY AREA REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY Ray Chiaramonte will serve as TBARTA’s executive director. Created by the Florida Legislature in 2007, the agency is in charge of the master transportation plan for a seven-county, west-central Florida region. Chiaramonte previously served as executive director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization in Hillsborough County.