Florida’s Top WC Judge Jumps Ship

Nancy Grover

Tallahassee, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – It’s back to the drawing board for Florida’s governor. The state’s Chief Judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings has announced he’s stepping down and going to work for Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

According to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat, John MacIver announced he is resigning as of June 19. In his resignation letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis MacIver reportedly said he was “honored by the confidence that you expressed by appointing me to serve as Director and Chief Judge, and am proud of the progress that has been made in the time that I have led the agency.”

MacIver’s appointment to the position was met with controversy over what some had said was his lack of experience. A key state Senate committee had refused to bring MacIver’s name up for a full confirmation hearing.

The person in the position has authority over the 31 judges of workers’ compensation claims as well as 29 other judges who hear disputes among states agencies and companies or individuals facing enforcement or fines.

The subject of whom to appoint will likely be brought up at the next meeting of the governor and Florida Cabinet, which is now scheduled for July.In the meantime, it’s business as usual.

“I think, as when they asked Judge Cohen to step down, our primary responsibility is to do whatever we can to maintain continuity and consistency for the marketplace we are here to serve,” said David Langham, Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims at the Division of Administrative Hearings. “Unless somebody tells me something different, we are going to keep doing what we do.”

Langham said on a day to day basis, having the position vacant will not have a significant impact. Where it could come into play is if there were decisions to be made in terms of logistics, such as rulemaking, purchasing and personnel issues. But the overall operations of the system have been running “normally and reasonably” through the pandemic, Langham said.

“We’ve had to do some cleaning around the state, some have been sent home to telecommute, but we’ve yet to close an office, we’ve yet to have real health issues, some have had to quarantine, we’ve been so lucky,” he said. “I can’t express any more solidly how proud I am of the judges and staff we’ve got to do what you all pay us to do.”

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