TALLAHASSEE — Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell is stepping down in the wake of a POLITICO Florida report that she took nine weeks of vacation and racked up nearly $30,000 in travel bills last year while her agency was struggling with a fund scandal and audit.
Her resignation takes effect Oct. 1. She will leave to pursue opportunities in the private sector.
“Cynthia has been part of my team since my first year in office and she has done a tremendous job serving Florida families,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement announcing the resignation.
He did not ask her to resign, his office said.
Scott first appointed O’Connell, who made $141,000 annually, to her post in 2011, and reappointed her in 2015. in 2014 O'Connell did a sit-down interview with Trimmel Gomes on Florida NewsMakers where she touted record sales, leading up to $5.36 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30. "Our draw is a great portfolio of games: 60 scratch-off games with price points of $1 to $25 that are fun and entertaining -- and also offer some real time gratification. When you scratch that ticket off, you could be a winner," O'Connell told Gomes.
Scott has tapped Tom Delacenserie, the department’s deputy secretary of sales and marketing, to serve as interim department secretary after O’Connell leaves office.
The move comes three days after POLITICO Florida reported that in 2014, O’Connell took off 43 days, assigned her chief of staff in charge of the department another 24 days, and spent nearly $30,000 traveling the county when she was on the job.
A weekly podcast focusing on the people and stories shaping Florida politics produced by Trimmel Gomes an award-winning journalist and former statewide news director of Florida Public Radio. Gomes hosted its flagship program "Capital Report" and created the public affairs program "It's About Florida." Gomes is political commentator and regular political contributor to WTXL ABC 27 in Tallahassee.
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