Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and Gov. Rick Scott stand near the intersection of "Jennifer Carroll St." and "Rick Scott Way" during the inaugural parade Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 along Monroe St. in Tallahassee, Florida. Photo courtesy Tallahassee Democrat.
St. Petersburg, FL -- Since Jennifer Carroll resigned as Lt. Gov. in March, the position has been vacant. But is the job needed? Some taxpayers say it's time to eliminate the position which includes a $125,000 a year salary.
"I think less is more," said St. Petersburg resident Daniel Edwards.
"I would support not having a Lt. Gov." added Margie Richmond.
The question of "Is the position needed?" follows a Tampa Bay Times story on Friday that says taxpayers spent nearly $300,000 just to protect Carroll during her travels in 2011. The newspaper goes on to say Carroll was spending so much on travel that Gov. Rick Scott was forced to put her on a $10,000 a month budget last summer.
On March 14, the Times also ran an editorial calling for the Lt. Gov.'s office to be eliminated.
The position of Lt. Gov carries an annual salary of $125,000 but in 2011, 10 News reported that it cost taxpayers $400,000 to run the Lt. Gov.'s office. That does not count travel and security which easily pushes the total past a half million dollars.
So what does the Lt. Gov do for all that money?
"By constitution just sort of wait and see if the Gov. is breathing each morning," former Florida Governor Bob Martinez once told 10 News.
The only duty of the Lt. Gov. is to be ready to "take over if the Gov. dies or is removed from office," according to the state constitution.
From 1885 to 1968 the state didn't even have a Lt. Gov. as the position had been eliminated.
But the President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, a non-partisan watchdog organization, says he doesn't think axing the Lt. Gov's job would be a wise move. Dominic M. Calabro says voters benefit from having an executive team made up of people from the same party.
"It would be penny wise and pound foolish to deny the voters of Florida every four years to make sure whoever they vote for Gov. has an executive leadership team that's consistent with what they voted for," said Dominic M. Calabro
Currently, with the Lt. Gov's spot vacant the state Attorney General is next in the line of succession.