TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott is usually pretty even tempered -- he moves from issue to issue with a keen focus, addresses it and moves on.
But when the issue turns to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, he can get downright angry.
Gov. Scott and the chief of Citizens are not on the same page over some big raises for a handful of top executives at the state-run insurer.
President and CEO Barry Gilway awarded raises ranging between $25,000 and $31,000 to five top employees. Now the company's chief financial officer earns more than $250,000 a year.
Gilway argues the raises are justified because the executives took on new responsibilities and their new salaries are more comparable to what they could earn in the private sector.
Gov. Scott is not buying it.
Scott is mad about the raises, travel spending and an incident last year in which some Citizens executives used a corporate credit card to buy more than $350 of alcohol at a company dinner.
"They've given outrageous pay raises. They should retract those. They ought to take seriously the inspector general report and look at their travel policy and look at reimbursement of alcohol."
Gilway said he's lost four top executives in the past several months because they could make more money in the private sector.
"I really have to have the opportunity to compensate people effectively if I'm going to get the job done that we need done."
Citizens Board Chairman Carlos Lacasa ended up reimbursing the company for the alcohol charged to a company credit card.
Gilway says he's taking steps to make the company more frugal, including instituting new restrictions on travel and meal expenses, hiring forensic auditors to focus on financial abuses and appointing an ethics officer to streamline the handling of internal complaints.