Fly Life Magazine

FL Gov. Rick Scott’s picks for wildlife commission have no wildlife expertise

Why does this sound so familiar? It seems that it’s becoming increasingly more prevalent to hire “yes men” than it is to hire qualified personnel in this day and age…

By Craig Pittman for the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott is remaking the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with a series of appointments who appear to have no expertise in managing wildlife.

His most recent pick, Gary Lester, is vice president of community relations at The Villages, developer of the largest gated retirement community in the world. Lester is also head of the school board at the Villages Charter School, and previously worked as a minister at Presbyterian churches in several states.

By Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

Lester, 59, did not respond to calls seeking comment on his appointment.

“Governor Scott appoints the most qualified candidates who he believes will faithfully serve Florida families with honesty and integrity,” Scott’s deputy communications director, McKinley Lewis, said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

Two people Scott picked for wildlife commission seats last month were Gary Nicklaus, 48, son of golfing great Jack Nicklaus; and Sonya Rood, 53, wife of developer and former Bermuda ambassador John Rood, who is also former chief financial officer of the Republican Party of Florida. Neither Nicklaus nor Rood could be reached for comment.

None of the three has previously been active in wildlife conservation.

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