Gov. Rick Scott installed his former "body man" — a 30-year-old with vanishingly little experience — to head Florida's equivalent of FEMA.
After a 2017 hurricane season that saw a series of devastating storms, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott has placed Wes Maul, an inexperienced crony, in charge of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
30-year-old Maul spent just a year and a half as the agency’s chief of staff before Scott appointed him interim director in September 2017. By December 2017, he’d become the FDEM’s permanent director.
Prior to that, Maul — who has a B.A. in business administration and economics and a law degree with a certificate in estates and trusts practice — served as Scott’s “body man.” According to the Miami Herald, Maul leveraged that relationship to get into the FDEM, despite having shown little interest in emergency management:
Past Scott travel aides had transitioned into other state agencies, and Maul, it seemed, had his pick.
“It was a conversation with the governor’s office: ‘Wes wants to come over to emergency management,’ ” said Bryan Koon, the former director of the emergency management division, though he said that in the dozens of times he had interacted with Maul as the governor’s aide, Maul had never mentioned a particular interest in emergency management. “It was figured out what the best fit was for him in the organization.”
“Even Maul’s allies acknowledge his rise has been helped by his close relationship with the governor and a finely honed ability to anticipate the chief executive’s directions and desires,” the Herald adds.
The paper further reports that Scott named another inexperienced crony, Nathan Edwards, to a post that made him the second highest paid employee at the agency.
Politico Florida noted that Edwards’ experience included “four years of various communication and graphic design jobs with the Scott administration.” And despite the crucial nature of his new job, “none of his past work history includes experience in emergency management.”
Scott has apparently taken a page from Trump’s book, naming inexperienced people to integral posts for questionable reasons.
And while Scott’s time as governor may be running out, he’ll still have to face voters on the campaign trail for his U.S. Senate bid. Many of those voters have lived through devastating hurricanes, and likely won’t appreciate Scott playing political patron with such important positions.
But more importantly, the inexperienced beneficiaries of Scott’s cronyism will be tested in ways for which failure is not an option.