Tampa Bay Times by Lawrence Mower
December 4, 2019
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was so upset by Monday’s 76-second meeting to appoint a new state banking regulator that she abstained from voting.
It doesn’t appear she was legally allowed to skip it, however.
State law appears clear: any member of a board who is present at a meeting “may not abstain from voting,” meaning Fried had to vote either “yes“ or “no.” The only exception is if the vote is a real or perceived conflict of interest, which Fried did not claim.
On Wednesday, Fried’s spokesman said she wasn’t required to vote for the banking commissioner, citing state law that requires only the vote of the governor, chief financial officer and one other Cabinet member.