After just two months on the job as Florida’s new House speaker, Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Destin, has been replaced.
Sansom announced last Friday that ongoing legal proceedings made him unable to carry out his responsibilities as speaker. He tried to temporarily hand the job to speaker pro tempore Rep. Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, while sorting through the legal difficulties.
However, House Republicans on Monday ousted Sansom, with most saying that the state’s economic and budgetary problems were too great to be overshadowed by the controversy. They handed the gavel to Cretul, whose position must be confirmed by a vote of the full House when the regular legislative session begins March 3.
Pressure has been mounting for weeks on Sansom, who is under investigation for allegedly funneling $35 million in state funds to Northwest Florida State College. The day he was inducted as House speaker, Sansom took an unadvertised, $110,000 part-time job at the college.
A grand jury as well as the state’s ethics commission are probing Sansom’s actions. Sansom said he did nothing wrong. He has since given up the college job.