Next House speaker to hire 18 staffers from governor's team

Published October 19, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush may be leaving the state Capitol soon, but some of his closest advisers are staying put.

Incoming Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio said Wednesday he is hiring 18 members of Bush's team, including budget director Mike Hansen, chief economist Don Langston and transportation guru Teresa Tinker.

Also coming on board in a consulting role is the governor's first budget chief, Donna Arduin, a stickler for fiscal conservatism who went on to work with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger before returning to Florida in 2005 to launch a consulting firm.

The moves come a week after Rubio put at least 10 current House staff members on notice that they might not have jobs when he assumes power in November. Those employees would be given up to two months' paid leave.

"Jeb Bush's legacy is one of bold public policy, and these are some of the staffers who helped him accomplish that. And bold public policy is also what we want to define us," said Rubio, R-Miami.

The other hires are: Marlene Ahearn, Eva Baxter, Teddi Creamer, Sherri Croom, Michelle Davila, Carol Gormley, Barbara Hoagland, Celeste Lewis, JoAnne Leznoff, Charles Liem, Paul Lowell, Teri Madsen, Christy Smith, Alicia Trexler and Sara Voyles.

Salary information was not available Wednesday, though Rubio's spokesman, Jose Fuentes, said the staff members would earn roughly their current salaries. With Bush leaving after eight years due to term limits, his staff members had no guarantee of employment under the new administration, even if Republican Charlie Crist wins.