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Scott Expected to Tap MacNamara soon for COS Position

TALLAHASSEE -- As Gov. Rick Scott's first chief of staff was confirmed by the Cabinet as the head of the Department of Veterans' Affairs, speculation was already turning to who would be the governor's second chief of staff -- and when he or she might be named.

Speculation on the successor for Mike Prendergast continued to revolve around Steve MacNamara, currently the chief of staff for Senate President Mike Haridopolos who once held the same position for then-House Speaker John Thrasher.

MacNamara's name as a possible replacement began floating around Tallahassee even before Prendergast's new job was announced. A spokesman for Haridopolos said MacNamara was out of town on annual leave.

The governor said Scott would move quickly to fill the vacancy, spokesman Brian Burgess said.

"I don't think the governor's going to wait very long," Burgess said. "That's a need that needs to be filled. We're at a critical phase in the governor's administration."

Prendergast, who was officially confirmed by Scott and the Cabinet on Wednesday, said he hadn't spoken with the governor about a possible successor.

"The governor will take his time and look through that to find the right person to come in and prepare for the things that he sees in the upcoming year," Prendergast said.

Whoever takes over will have to attempt to prop up Scott's sagging approval ratings. While polls disagree on the extent of approval, they agree that more than 50 percent of Florida voters disapprove of the job the first-year governor is doing. And they will have to try to continue melding Scott's cast of government outsiders into an outfit that can maneuver the state's complicated politics.

While conceding that Scott was recalibrating his approach, Burgess said Scott continually reassesses his administration and there was nothing unusual about the recent moves.

"This isn't like an inflection point that you're not going to see again," Burgess said. "There's always going to be adjustments, there's always going to be things we're doing, there's going to be people that come and there's going to be people that go."

Prendergast said he had originally volunteered for several jobs in Scott's administration -- including heading up veterans' affairs.

"Timing-wise, this is a great time for me to move over to that position, one of the positions that I did desire to serve in," Prendergast said.

Prendergast was asked if he felt that the governor's office had made any major mistakes during his time as chief of staff.

"I really don't think so," he said. "I think we learned a lot."


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