By Barry B. Burr | July 21, 2014
Florida State Board of Administration could emerge as a political campaign issue, if a current trustee and a former trustee face off in the race for governor in November.
Gov. Rick Scott, running for re-election, would face his immediate predecessor, former Gov. Charlie Crist, if Mr. Crist wins the Aug. 26 Democratic primary election.
The governor serves as one of the three trustees — all statewide-elected officeholders — of the FSBA, which oversees $181 billion in assets, including the Florida Retirement System’s $148.5 billion in defined benefit and $8.8 billion in defined contribution assets.
Mr. Scott succeeded Mr. Crist, who didn’t seek re-election in 2010 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, while also changing political parties from a Republican.
“I think the context to which these (FSBA) issues are most likely to emerge is during that … part of the campaign in which the candidates … respond to organizations that do endorsements,” including unions and business groups, which have embraced different sides of pension reform, said Robert F. Sanchez, director of policy, James Madison Institute, a Tallahassee-based public policy research and educational organization, promoting limited government.
In terms of the Tallahassee-based FSBA leadership, Ash Williams was hired by the trustees as FSBA’s executive director and chief investment officer while Mr. Crist was governor and reappointed under Mr. Scott’s tenure.
Both governors “have shown a great deal of trust in Mr. Williams,” Mr. Sanchez said.FSBA’s other trustees — Pam Bondi and Jeff Atwater, both Republicans — also are seeking re-election, respectively, as state attorney general and state chief financial officer.This article originally appeared in the July 21, 2014 print issue as, “FSBA a campaign issue? Could happen”.
— Contact Barry B. Burr at firstname.lastname@example.org | @Burr_PI