Florida’s Governor Can’t Count, Even When Shafting State Employees

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For several weeks now, since billionaire Rick Scott was inaugurated as governor of Florida, I’ve been wanting to spotlight some of the Sunshine State’s political insanity. We here at MoJo are busy putting together the next print issue, however, so you’ll have to wait just a bit longer for in-depth reporting on sketchy political appointments, criminal investigations of Republicans, misadventures in deregulation, and gruesome soft-money trails. In the meantime, though, one tipster told MoJo today of a new low in Scott’s tenure: his inability to appear marginally competent, even when bringing the hurt to state employees.

According to the source, Scott held a video conference with selected state employees today, including career law-enforcement officers. Its purpose: Scott wanted to personally inform state workers that they’d have to cut back to 13 paid holidays per year. This news was apparently met with total silence from the state employees. The reason? They currently only take nine paid holidays, a fact that’s easily discernible from the state’s own website. After the conference, state employees reportedly emailed and called each other furiously, laughing over the miscalculation: “Did he really say that? Does he really not know?”

Mind you, Mother Jones‘ source for this information—who deigned to work yesterday, a federal and Florida state holiday—is no big-government-loving pinko. “Rick Scott is such a fumbling idiot,” the source said. “He thinks he’s running the federal government!”

We don’t know about that, but we do know this isn’t the first time Scott’s had no idea what he was talking about as the state’s chief executive. (Direct quote from a press conference: “It has to go through the Legislature, is my understanding…That’s not my understanding. I’m not sure. I have to check into that, but that’s not my understanding. It’s not my understanding right now.”) And he also has plans to slash more benefits for state employees, including a retirement pension system that was already pared down by then-governor Jeb Bush.

Perhaps that’s why he’s limited media access to government officials in an unprecedented manner, in a state that has one of the nation’s most expansive sunshine laws. Be that as it may, rest assured, dear reader, MJ will bring much, much more on the sordid state of affairs in this politically vital appendage of the union.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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