Rick Scott Makes His General Counsel the State Jobs Czar

By: Jim Turner | Posted: December 6, 2012 2:30 PM

Rick Scott, Peter Antonacci and Jesse Panuccio

Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney Peter Antonacci and Jesse Panuccio

Jesse Panuccio, Gov. Rick Scott’s general counsel, has been named to head the state’s jobs agency, replacing Hunting Deutsch, who abruptly resigned earlier this week.

Outgoing 15th Circuit State Attorney Peter Antonacci will succeed Panuccio as Scott’s general counsel. .

“Jesse’s unparalleled work ethic and intellectual capacity will be a much-needed catalyst for progress at DEO -- an agency that plays a critical role in our mission to create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families,” Scott stated in a release.  

“Jesse has skillfully represented our office and the people of Florida in important legal cases over the last two years and we are excited to have him devote his energy and skill to another vital part of state government. We are also honored to have Peter Antonacci join our team. His decades of incredible legal experience and public service to the people of Florida will be an invaluable addition to our office.”

Deutsch, a 30-year banking executive, stepped down from the $140,000-a-year job at the Department of Economic Opportunity on Tuesday, less than a month after it was reported that he picked up jobless benefits prior to landing the state gig.

Deutsch, who was selected for the post in April 2012, reportedly had not informed Scott that he had received unemployment claims after leaving BankUnited in 2009.

A sticking point for some legislators was that while receiving benefits he traveled to Europe for a vacation.

Panuccio, a Harvard Law School graduate who will continue to serve the governor’s office through Jan. 7, was hired as deputy general counsel in early 2011 and became general counsel earlier this year.

Antonacci was appointed as the state attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County by Scott and previously served as the statewide prosecutor and deputy attorney general.

In 1987 and 2005, Antonacci represented Govs. Graham and Bush as special Senate prosecuting counsel for the impeachment trials of supervisors of elections. Antonacci also served as a member of the Florida Commission on Ethics from 2001 to 2005. He has a law degree from Florida State University and was a GrayRobinson shareholder prior to his service as state attorney.

DEO Chief of Staff Darrick McGhee is serving as acting director through Jan. 7, at which time he will become the governor’s director of legislative affairs, a post he was expected to start on Dec. 10.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (3)

9:26PM DEC 6TH 2012
That's the only jobs Scott has created is work for attorneys!
9:24PM DEC 6TH 2012
Lol. A lawyer creating jobs. Wose next, an IRS agent? Thisnis ridiculous
5:48PM DEC 6TH 2012
I’m nervous seeing how fast Rick Scott replaced Hunter Deutsch. It’s not his replacement at the DEO that’s making me nervous. It’s the thought of Al Lamberti getting a job at the Dept. of Corrections. I don’t want Scott to make a quick decision about the job as chief of the Department of Corrections. We just voted Republican Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti’s corrupt posterior out of office. I do not want to see him in another office anywhere in Florida. Lamberti is eyeing the job at the Dept. of Corrections and Gov. Scott has got to reject him. Lamberti has put Republicans like Jim Scott and Ed Pozzuoli on BSO payroll as "lobbyists" in what looks like a Lamberti pay-off. Lamberti Repubican campaign consultant Rich Heffley is also on BSO payroll as a '”lobbyist”. Another Lamberti pay-off? There’s the $1 Million that disappeared from the BSO under Lamberti. And Lamberti coerced BSO deputies to contribute to his campaign. Don’t let this guy anywhere near a public office! We can’t put up with pay-for-play and embezzlement on the state level. Especially not in the Dept. of Corrections.

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