Governor taps FSUComm prof MacNamara to be his chief of staff

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has selected Communication Associate Professor Stephen R. MacNamara to be his chief of staff, effective July 5.

MacNamara, whose experience bridges the worlds of academia and politics, has been on unpaid leave of absence from The Florida State University since August 2010, serving as general counsel to the Florida Senate and chief of staff for Senate President Mike Haridopolos. His leave extends through August 2012.

“My goal is to make Florida the number one state in the country for job creation, and I believe Steve MacNamara is the best choice to direct my team in that endeavor,” Scott said in a prepared statementt. “His experience and political skill will be an asset to all Floridians as we continue to position Florida as an economic leader.”

At FSU’s School of Communication, he has taught media law, public relations writing, and political communication and strategy. In his new role, he will be responsible for policy, communications and administrative functions within the Executive Office of the Governor. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in journalism and his law degree at the University of Florida.

His previous positions at FSU were law professor and associate dean of the law school, associate vice president for academic affairs, and executive director of the Claude Pepper Center, the Claude Pepper Foundation and the LeRoy Collins Institute for Public Policy. In state government, MacNamara was the Legislature’s first “professor in residence” and served as chief of staff for John Thrasher when Thrasher, now a state senator, was Speaker of the House. He also was secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation under Gov. Bob Martinez.

Scott, a health-care CEO who had never held political office, campaigned for governor last year as the ultimate outsider, vowing to bring a business-like approach to state government. Although MacNamara has been described by pundits as the ultimate Tallahassee insider, he has long been a champion of fiscal efficiency in government and university operations in order to improve service.

“Steve MacNamara is known for his ability to make tough and wise decisions,” Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando), said. “There is no question about why the governor tapped him to lead his staff. I congratulate Steve on his new post and am grateful that the Florida Senate was able to benefit from his leadership this past session.”

Related items:

  • Associated Press story in the Miami Herald
  • Palm Beach Post story
  • Tallahassee Democrat story