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Scott Interviews Insurance Commissioner Candidates

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Associated Press
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Two days after Gov. Rick Scott professed support for his lone finalist to be the state's next insurance commissioner, the governor interviewed four others who have applied for the position.

Scott conducted brief telephone interviews Friday with David Altmaier and Richard Robleto, both deputy commissioners with the Office of Insurance Regulation; Carla D'Andre, the founder of an independent insurance company in Miami; and Chlora Lindley-Myers, a deputy commissioner with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Asked why the governor conducted the interviews and if Scott would put forth additional names, Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone replied in an email Friday afternoon that "the Governor interviewed four candidates today and we will keep you updated."

The Cabinet is scheduled to interview finalists on Tuesday for the job, advertised at paying up to $200,000 a year, to replace Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty.

Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who must jointly agree on a recommendation for the insurance commissioner position before the rest of the Cabinet votes on the hire, have been at an impasse over McCarty's replacement.

Scott and Atwater were unable reach consensus on a finalist at a Cabinet meeting on March 29. Atwater proposed state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach for the job.

On Wednesday Scott's office expressed the governor's strong support for Jeffrey Bragg, a Palm Harbor resident and former executive director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.

Bragg was the only name put forward by the governor's office during the Cabinet aides meeting Wednesday morning. Later in the day, Scott's office released a statement calling Bragg "the best candidate for the position."

Atwater has again proposed that the Cabinet interview Hager, along with Belinda Miller, the chief of staff at the Office of Insurance Regulation, and Raymond "Ray" Blacklidge, who was general counsel for American Traditions Insurance Company in Pinellas Park.

D'Andre and Lindley-Myers were both interviewed by Atwater earlier this week but failed to make his short list, released on Thursday.

Scott previously interviewed Altmaier on March 21, the same day the governor interviewed Bragg, according to his office records.