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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Office of Government Relations

State Cabinet






Florida is historically unique among the 50 states in America. Until January 7, 2003, it was the only state to have a Governor plus a Cabinet consisting of six independently and constitutionally elected state executives. Florida now has a Cabinet consisting of three constitutionally elected state executives.  The Governor is the popularly elected "chief executive" of Florida but the three members of the Cabinet are also elected by the people and serve as a collective decision and rule making body for the state. Each Cabinet member serves a four-year term with a two-term limit and is wholly responsible for the administration of at least one state department. The Governor is responsible for the administration of most other state departments.

Reflecting the concern that a single person might exercise too much power, Floridians ratified the Florida Constitution of 1968, affirming the independence of Cabinet members by deleting the phrase, "the Governor shall be assisted by" the Cabinet. This gave each member equal footing with the Governor on matters that come before the Governor and Cabinet so that Cabinet members were no longer expected,constitutionally, to capitulate to the Governor's wishes.




In 1998 the Constitutional Revision Commission proposed a rewrite of Article IV, Section IV of the Florida Constitution that reduced the Florida Cabinet from six elected officials to three.  Effective January 7, 2003, the Florida Cabinet consists of the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer and the Commissioner of Agriculture.  The Cabinet offices of Secretary of State and Commissioner of Education became appointed offices and their respective agencies became the responsibility of the Governor.  The  revised constitution also created a new State Board of Education with seven members appointed by the Governor to oversee the Department of Education.  The Cabinet offices of Treasurer and Comptroller were merged into the new position of Chief Financial Officer who serves as agency head for the newly created Department of Financial Services.




Meetings of the Governor and Cabinet are noticed and usually occur every other week on Tuesdays in the Cabinet meeting room of the Capitol building.  The Governor and each Cabinet member have staff members assigned to Cabinet duties. These highly trusted aides are crucial for conducting Cabinet business since they weigh public opinion, communicate with one another, and engage in investigating and researching issues.  By the time the Governor and Cabinet meet, the aides have thoroughly briefed their principals on the issues. Cabinet aides' meetings usually occur on Wednesdays prior to meetings of the Governor and Cabinet so that proponents and opponents of issues will have a public forum in which to express their concerns.

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