9 Investigates Florida appointed positions going unfilled

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

Tuesday's announcement by Gov. Rick Scott, naming Miami Republican Carlos Lopez-Cantera as lieutenant governor, ends almost a year of speculation and waiting for a decision; it also leaves the governor with only 268 other positions to fill.

Eyewitness News has discovered there are more than 250 open positions on state boards and committees, all awaiting the governor's decision. Most of the positions require either specific credentials or specific residency requirements. The Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council is currently in need of six positions, all doctors with a background in oncology.

"When you don't fill these vacancies the process slows down because you don't have people to do, the votes that you need," says Tony Caruso, a member of one of the advisory boards to the Florida Building Commission.

But, beyond the boards, Scott is also responsible for naming a new county clerk of courts in Orange County. In May of 2013, Clerk of Courts Lydia Gardner died following a lengthy battle with cancer, since that time the position has been filled by Colleen Reilly on an interim basis. According to the Governor's Office, 13 people have applied to be the next clerk of courts, however, Scott's office says there is no timeline to name a new clerk.

At a recent visit to Orlando, Channel 9's Chris Heath attempted to ask the governor when he planned to make a decision, he told Heath, "We're working on that and we're going to make sure we have the right person to do a very good job."

The governor would not say whether he has narrowed the list or if he has met with any of the candidates, nor would he say if a timeline has been established.

Even without an appointment, three people have already filed in Orange County to run for the office.  Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell and attorney Jimmy Auffant have filed to run as Democrats, with attorney Pedro Malaret filing to run as a Republican.  Orange County will hold a special election for the seat on November 4, 2014.  The candidate elected during the November election will serve until 2016 when the seat will fall back into its constitutional 4-year cycle.

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