The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday considered Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointments for Florida Lottery secretary and Department of Management Services secretary, approving both picks.
James Poppell was tapped by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to take over the Florida Lottery in June 2017. He had previously served as the chief of staff at Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. That appointment was confirmed unanimously last year, and DeSantis opted to keep Poppell in the position.
“Being a public servant is one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had,” Poppell told the Senate panel. “I leave work every day knowing I work with 400 employees that generate $4.8 million a day for state education.”
After a year-and-a-half on the job, Poppell said the department is in good shape — sales are up 6.25 percent year-over-year, and the Lottery is expecting to contribute nearly $1.9 billion to the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund this year.
Poppell also detailed the rollout of a the lottery’s expansion into ticket vending machines and other equipment, which are expected to further boost the lotto’s $7 billion in yearly sales. The rollout involves training more than 40,000 employees across the 13,000-plus ticket retailers.
“We are excited about our success, but we are not resting on our laurels,” he said.
Sen. Bobby Powell, a West Palm Beach Democrat and vice chair of the committee, said he was impressed with the time Poppell spent meeting with him and that he would be “proud to support a favorable recommendation” when his confirmation hits the Senate floor.
After Poppell’s unanimous recommendation, the committee heard from sitting Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter, who has led the department since he was appointed by DeSantis six weeks ago.
Before accepting the job, Satter worked as the managing director of U.S. operations for Avision Young, the world’s largest private commercial real estate services firm from 2013 through 2018.
“DMS is the business arm of the state of Florida,” Satter said during the committee hearing. “With less than 800 employees, serving 1.1 million people and with a budget of $600 million, DMS is a model of efficiency.”
DMS oversees the state’s vehicle fleet, monitors private prisons, manages the Florida Facilities Pool and handles state contracts. It also oversees many programs for state employees, including the state health insurance and retirement programs.
“We serve those who serve Florida,” he said, adding that his goal was to make DMS the “ultimate service organization for state government.”
Satter’s time at the lectern also featured a smidgen of lobbying. He thanked Clearwater Republican Sen. Ed Hooper for sponsoring SB 1570, which would put the Agency for State Technology under the purview of DMS, among other things.
Satter said the bill would help DMS accomplish DeSantis’ order for DMS to modernize its information technology infrastructure.
Hooper complimented Satter in kind.
“I look forward to working with you on the department’s challenges,” Hooper said. “You’ve convinced me you’re the right man for the job.”
Like Poppell, Satter’s recommendation was approved with a unanimous vote.