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Five applicants selected to interview for OFR top job

Left out is Linda Charity, who served as interim commissioner twice. 

The Governor and Cabinet will interview five applicants for the position of Commissioner of the state’s Office of Financial Regulation (OFR). 

Aides to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried met Wednesday in advance of an Oct. 22 meeting. That’s when the Governor and Cabinet will collectively interview and appoint the next OFR head. 

The Governor’s Office asked to interview Russell Weigel, a securities lawyer from Coral Gables; David Weintraub, a investor-plaintiff’s lawyer from Plantation; and Joseph Hudgins, an executive with Naples’ First Florida Integrity Bank. 

The Attorney General’s Office asked to interview Bryan Schneider, the former head of Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. 

And the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services asked to interview Hudgins and Mike Hogan of Gainesville, a former banking executive and now a consultant.

Left out is Linda Charity, a former OFR official who served as interim commissioner twice. 

Those selected for interviews will now undergo an FDLE background check. 

The next commissioner must be hired by the Financial Services Commission, which is made up of the Governor and Cabinet. The Governor and CFO must both agree for a candidate to be hired.

Ronald Rubin, who was fired in July as head of OFR after complaints of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments in the workplace, was paid $166,000 a year. DeSantis has asked that the OFR commissioner’s salary be increased to garner better candidates. 

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