Know Your Employees
Do you know that the government is supposed to work for you?
The government in the United States – at the national, state, and local level – is designed to work for its citizens. Officials are elected to serve the interests and concerns of the people and the communities they represent. For our governments to work well, you have to know who your officials are, what they are charged with doing, and how they are carrying out their jobs. We want to make sure everyone in the state of Florida understands what their elected officials do and should be doing for them. It’s time to get to
Job Descriptions - State
The highest-ranking state official in Florida, the Governor is responsible for carrying out the laws and business of the State. The Governor is also responsible for planning and budgeting for the State, approving or vetoing bills passed by the State Legislature, and filling any state or county vacancies as well as serving as the commander-in-chief for all state military services.
Recent legislation has extended the power of the Governor, allowing the Governor to have more oversight than usual over state agencies as well as make key financial decisions regarding the recruitment of new business, if that is determined to be economically beneficial.
The Florida Constitution creates a weak governor model, sharing executive responsibility in most areas with three Cabinet officers – the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Commissioner of Agriculture. The Governor appoints heads of departments, some of which are overseen just by the Governor and some which are overseen by the Governor and the Cabinet.
Current Governor - Ron DeSantis (R)
Selected as a running mate by the Governor, the Lt. Governor becomes the Gov if that office becomes vacant during a term. The Lt. Governor also serves as the liaison between the State Legislature and the Governor’s office.
Current Lieutenant Governor – Jeanette Nunez (R)
The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement of the State, responsible for enforcing laws, protecting consumers, protecting civil rights, and defending the State in court actions.
Current Attorney General – Ashley Moody (R)
The CFO is responsible for every aspect of the State’s finances, as well as overseeing insurance, banking, and death industry regulation and serving as the State’s Fire Marshall.
Current Chief Financial Officer – Jimmy Patronis (R)
The Commissioner of Agriculture safeguards the public through the testing and inspection of food products, regulation of deceptive and unfair business practices, reducing wildfires, the promotion of environmentally safe agricultural practices, and the management of public lands.
Current Commissioner of Agriculture – Wilton Simpson (R)
The State Legislature is made up of two chambers, the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. There are 120 State Representatives and 40 State Senators. Legislators are responsible for creating and amending state laws. Before becoming law, a legislator must propose a bill, and that bill must successfully undergo Committee review, three readings on the floor of each chamber with appropriate voting majorities as required, and then signed into law by the Governor or a veto override by at least two-thirds of the House and Senate.
The House is led by the Speaker of the House; the Senate is led by the Senate President. The two positions control the assignments of committee and leadership positions as well as the agenda in their chambers. The Speaker of the House, the Senate President, and the Governor control most of the agenda of the state business in Florida.
Current Senate President – Kathleen Passidomo (R) – Naples
Current Speaker of the House – Paul Renner (R) – Palm Coast
Job Descriptions - Local
Most cities in Florida have one of these four leadership structures:
- Council-Weak Mayor – The City or local Council has most of the power and the Mayor is more of a ceremonial position.
- Council-Strong Mayor – The City or local Council is responsible for the legislative process and the Mayor oversees the administrative duties. The Mayor can hire and fire staff, veto legislation from the Council, and may have budget management and approval duties.
- Council-Manager – Similar to the Council-Weak Mayer Model, the Council works with the City Manager to lead the local government.
- Commission – Few cities use this system, which is also similar to the Council-Weak Mayor model. The Mayor and four elected City Commissioners share legislative, executive, and administrative authority over the local government.
In Florida, some counties as well as cities have a Mayor. The Mayor is the official head of the local government. Specific duties vary by county or city, depending on the mayoral model used.
The County Clerk, also known as the Clerk of the Circuit Court, has almost 1,000 duties according to the Florida Constitution. The primary duties are to protect all court records; process and make available to the public all case documents such as civil lawsuits, traffic tickets, and criminal cases; managing jurors; maintaining case evidence; processing bail; and submitting appeals to the state appellate courts.
The Clerk’s Office also processes and maintains official records including mortgages, deeds, wills, marriage licenses, liens, and applications for U.S. passports. The Clerk also serves as the Comptroller, managing the budget and accounting for the County as well as investing and earning revenue on tax dollars.
This is an elected body that can vary from city to city, depending on the city management/mayoral model in place, but can include oversight of the police, fire, and public works departments, creating and enforcing city laws (ordinances), authorizing bond issues, and passing the city’s budget.
This county-elected official is responsible for administering elections and voter registration, which includes conducting all public elections in the county; registering voters and issuing voter registration; removing voters from voter rolls who are moved, deceased, or no longer eligible to vote; accepting and verifying mail-in ballots; qualifying candidates for county offices; receiving candidate campaign finance reports and financial disclosure reports and making them available to the public; verifying petition signatures; and maintaining statistics on election results, voting history and voter registration.