JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Using his personal wealth, a fiscal conservative platform and a one line slogan, "Let's get to work," Rick Scott became Florida's 45th governor.
Scott has just reached his 100th day in office this week, and Florida unions are giving him failing grades so far.
Teachers, students and union members gathered at the state Capitol to show their report for the governor today. It gives him unsatisfactory marks on leadership, staff relations and cost effectiveness.
They accuse the governor of failing to get the state back to work by refusing to accept federal money for high speed rail and drawing up plans to eliminate more than 8,000 state jobs.
"I think he is the CEO of a business trying to get use to being a politician," said University of North Florida political scientist Matt Corrigan.
He said Scott has tried to keep campaign promises. "He gets credit for that; it hasn't been a surprise, I think," said Corrigan. "The way he's gone about it has been difficult."
Scott promised to sell the two state-owned planes, and he did. He promised to cut the state budget and has submitted a budget to the legislature with $5 billion in cuts.
"Scott put out a bold conservative agenda so far that you have to give him high marks for bringing new ideas, but the way he's done it pulls down his grade point average," said Corrigan.
For sticking to his fiscal conservative agenda, Scott gets an 'S' grade for satisfactory. For his skills as a team player, he gets a 'U' for unsatisfactory.
Corrigan said that has been one of the governor's biggest problems.
"There are a number of issues where he hasn't worked particularly well even with the Republicans and has made it clear he is not concerned about polls or what the public thinks," he said.
Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs in seven years; on his effort to create jobs he gets an 'I' for incomplete.
"I do think he has one really important economic initiative that he deserves credit for - that's focusing on the port," said Corrigan.
Scott vowed to spend $77 million on Port of Miami dredging and talked about the Jacksonville port. But because of his freeze on new regulations, promises of pension reforms and streamlining of the state, Scott's first 100 days has been a mix of praise and harsh criticism.
Corrigan said the real test of the governor's performance will be how well he does with this legislative session. If he gets 50 percent of what he wants from lawmakers, he has done well, said Corrigan.
"He will not have the kind of success Jeb Bush had," he added.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce came to the governor's defense. Chamber CEO and President Mark Wilson gives the governor good marks so far.
First Coast News