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A former supervisor wouldn't endorse Ladapo as Florida's surgeon general

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Wilfredo Lee
The Florida Channel
During a meeting of the Senate Health Policy Committee in January, Democrats walked out before Republicans voted to approve Dr. Joseph's Ladapo's nomination.

The comments on Dr. Joseph Ladapo were in an FDLE background check requested by the state Senate as part his confirmation process and made public just before his second confirmation hearing.

A former supervisor of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo declined to recommend Ladapo to lead the state Department of Health during a background check, records show.

The comments were included in a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation requested by the state Senate as part of confirmation process.

USA Today Network-Florida reported the supervisor’s comments Thursday. Ladapo is scheduled Tuesday to go before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee for a confirmation hearing after facing heavy criticism from Democrats during a similar hearing last month.

The supervisor noted Ladapo’s outspoken resistance to various COVID mandates, saying Ladapo had “created stress and acrimony” at UCLA. Still, the supervisor said Ladapo “met all of the contractual obligations for the position that he was hired to perform, which is the underpinning of my otherwise satisfactory evaluation.”

Ladapo, appointed in September by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, has drawn scrutiny over his alignment with the governor in resisting coronavirus vaccine mandates and other virus policies embraced by federal health officials.

A spokesman for the state Department of Health said the comments from a "disgruntled supervisor" were meant to “smear” Ladapo during his confirmation process.

During a Jan. 26 meeting of the Senate Health Policy Committee, Democrats walked out before a vote because they said Ladapo was not answering their questions. A majority of Republicans on the committee voted for his confirmation.

The surgeon general doubles as secretary of the state Department of Health.

If backed by the Ethics and Elections Committee, Ladapo's nomination would go to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.