The reports came swift and sharp and with a notable tone of relief among the media when Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he was rescinding former Gov. Rick Scott's 11th-hour appointments. Many journalists wasted no time praising the DeSantis move as good news. But they expressed shock he would do such a thing without first protecting Scott appointee Andrew Pollack, father of Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack.
Not to worry. Can there be any doubt Pollack isn't a Board of Education return shoo-in?
Nevertheless, WLRN declared that DeSantis “rejects” Pollack. The Tampa Bay Times called it a “rebuke.” A Jacksonville-based education blog claims it's “the right thing.” But as much as some may be looking at the move with approval, they also might be missing the whole story. To suggest the governor had somehow targeted, or acted out directly against Pollack’s position is, frankly, absurd.
Pollack and his wife attended DeSantis' Inaugural Ball. Afterward, Pollack respectfully tweeted out his hopes for the new governor.
And, it was just a little over a week ago that Andrew Pollack stood with the newly inaugurated governor as the announcement came down that an executive order had been signed to remove Scott Israel as Broward County sheriff. More than just a figure standing beside him during the speech, Pollack in fact spoke prominently during the press conference. He was there introducing other parents and speaking highly of Gregory Tony as Israel's replacement.
Pollack's positive words of praise for Tony were not token supports. Pollack was said to have worked closely with DeSantis in choosing the former Coral Springs Police Department sergeant. So, what leads to the governor so abruptly removing his ally from a Board Of Education position?
It was not as dramatic as many believe. We know DeSantis had a contentious relationship with outgoing Gov. Rick Scott. Though DeSantis has been working at a furious pace since he uttered the words “I will,” he still made one of his first tasks addressing the 84 late appointments to courts, boards and appointments Scott made. Scott had "done the deed" on his final Friday and the ensuing Monday, the day before DeSantis was sworn in.
The governor’s inauguration was all class.
Our new Governor @RonDeSantisFL gave a great speech. Important to me was his pledge to end the “failed social experiment” (AKA Promise) and to remove failed leaders (look for a new sheriff in town). @browardsheriff#FixIt pic.twitter.com/CALj9V5oF6
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) January 10, 2019
So, as soon as he could, DeSantis, rescinded 46 of Scott’s appointments -- those set to go before the state Senate, but over which he now held control. Rather than selectively pick out certain names, he made the decision to do a blanket retraction, pulling all the names at once.
Rejected appointees have been invited to reapply, say DeSantis staffers, and certainly some reappointments will be made.
Reaching out locally, I have heard Pollack is not at all bothered by the decision and is acting confident he will at some time be reinstated. This has been confirmed by local news outlet CBS Miami. He has done preliminary work with the BOE in early meetings, and says that, as an ally of both Scott and DeSantis, he is not resentful over any action. “I look forward to taking the recommendations of the [Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School] Commission and making sure they are put in effect.”
This blanket retraction appears evident in the letter DeSantis sent (viewable here) to Senate President Bill Galvano. It does little more than inform of DeSantis' intent, while providing the lengthy list of names. The formality is apparent.
Meanwhile, Pollack -- in contrast to news reports -- sees little conflict in the decision. “I’m more concerned with where I’m going to eat tonight than if the governor is going to reappoint me,” he said.
Sure sounds like a man confident DeSantis has his back.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.