St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Budget threatens inspections
  • Farkas' plan: Davis gets I-4 district
  • Once again, Bush's pick is put on hold
  • Florida is rejected as lead Enron plaintiff
  • Fewer shark attacks counted
  • Bush peppered on school spending
  • Bush says many suffer because of drug abuse

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
  • tampabay.com

    printer version

    Once again, Bush's pick is put on hold

    The governor's choice for education board chairman is left dangling again because of a "scheduling conflict.''

    By STEVE BOUSQUET, Times Tallahassee Deputy Bureau Chief
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published February 19, 2002


    TALLAHASSEE -- A Senate simmering with discontent has decided to let Phil Handy, one of Gov. Jeb Bush's top appointees, twist slowly in the wind for awhile.

    photo
    Handy
    For the second time in a week, the Senate Education Committee Monday refused to confirm Handy as chairman of the state Board of Education and adjourned without taking a vote.

    The committee's chairman, Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, cited a "scheduling conflict," but he couldn't keep a straight face while saying it.

    Democratic senators say Handy, 57, is unqualified to set state education policy, and they dislike his support for school vouchers. But some Republicans are lukewarm about him too.

    Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Palm Harbor, assailed what he called the "arrogance" of the Board of Education. "The big salaries, the closed meetings, there are a lot of issues percolating around," said Latvala.

    The same committee voted unanimously to recommend confirmation of another top education policymaker. Jim Horne, a former state senator from the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park, earns $225,000 a year as the state's first acting secretary to the Board of Education.

    Horne faced questions about Florida's overcrowded classes and Bush's spending record on education, but as a former senator he received respectful treatment.

    Handy is a different story, and his political predicament has become a distraction for the Bush administration. The same committee was unable to approve Handy a week ago because the absence of one Republican senator left the panel deadlocked, with six Republicans and six Democrats.

    Since then, Handy made things worse for himself when he criticized senators for changing their district numbers in reapportionment so some of them can squeeze an extra two years for themselves.

    Handy, a Winter Park financier who spearheaded the term limits movement in Florida a decade ago, was quoted by the Palm Beach Post last week as saying: "I think the politicians do all this at their own risk."

    Democrats gleefully circulated copies of the article.

    Sen. Don Sullivan, R-St. Petersburg, called Handy's comment "his second mistake in judgment" and said: "It certainly didn't help his standing in the Senate." Handy's first mistake was his advocacy of term limits, said Sullivan, who is leaving the Senate because of term limits.

    But Sullivan said he saw no direct link between Handy's plight and the fact that relations between the Senate and Bush have been testy ever since the governor criticized Senate President John McKay's sales tax overhaul plan two weeks ago.

    Even Republican senators said much larger forces are at work in the delay over Handy's confirmation. "Maybe it's as innocent as scheduling, but I'm not that naive," said Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie. "Something's going on upstairs, I'm sure," a reference to McKay's fourth-floor suite.

    McKay was unavailable for comment. His spokeswoman, Karen Chandler, quoted him as saying: "I empower the chairmen to make their own decisions."

    Messages left with Handy were not returned.

    Earlier in the day, Bush called Handy "very well qualified" and said: "I'm asking that they confirm him."

    -- Times staff writer Lucy Morgan contributed to this report.

    Back to State news

    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan


    From the Times state desk