That's when Melissa Sellers will give way to Kim McDougal (both pictured left) as McDougal takes on the sometimes overwhelming job as chief of staff for Scott.
Sellers, who once worked for former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is remaining in Tallahassee and opening her own consulting firm.
This much is clear: McDougal and Sellers have different backgrounds, different resumes and different styles. McDougal is a veteran state employee who has spent most of her career focused on education and only recently made a deep dive into the political realm.
The big change for her came in 2014 when she went on leave from her job in the governor's office as an education analyst to help with Scott's re-election campaign. McDougal helped draw up Scott's education platform for his campaign but she was deeply involved with Scott's tightrope walk on how to deal with Common Core.
One of McDougal's jobs that summer was to meet with groups deeply opposed to Common Core, which still remain embedded in the standards that Florida is using in its public schools. McDougal's outreach was successful enough to win an endorsement from one of the groups on the eve of the election. (Which was probably important in a contest decided by just 64,000 votes out of 6 million cast.)
Because of her lengthy experience the expectation is that McDougal will retain her oversight of education matters for Scott. And that probably means no dramatic swings away from current policies or a need to make any big personnel changes. (Scott has been a pretty firm supporter of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.)
Word is that after the departures of Sellers and General Counsel Tim Cerio other people working in the governor's office - including Deputy Chief of Staff (and former Louisiana resident) Frank Collins will remain in their same roles.
But the real big question for Capitol insiders - and ultimately Floridians - is whether or not Gov. Scott will pivot once again with a new chief of staff in place.
Because one of the most interesting aspects of Scott's five-plus years in office is that he has been willing to alter his style, his interactions and sometimes even his policies based on the input from those closest to him at the time.
There are those who speculate that Sellers will remain a trusted voice and may be doing a warm up routine for a potential 2018 U.S. Senate run for Scott. (Although there is a division of opinion about this as well.)
Another maxim, however, is that "no one gets out of Scott World alive." This means that once someone is removed from the orbit of influence it's impossible to get back in. (Key example: Sellers was Scott's campaign manager during a time when he was focused on the campaign. After the re-election, he installed her in as chief of staff in place of Adam Hollingsworth. Word is that Hollingsworth didn't know this was coming.)
Going all the way back to the start there are clear lines of demarcation for Scott when one person leaves and another steps in.
His first few months in 2011 Scott was combative with the press, with the Legislature and came on strong with a Tea Party influenced agenda that including killing high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. Lobbyists were barred from meeting with Scott and top governor's office staff. The chief of staff at the time was officially Mike Prendergast, but the view is that the person who had the most influence at the time was his senior adviser Mary Anne Carter. Carter was a complete outsider to Tallahassee and once she left her position she didn't hang around in town.
But Prendergast (and Carter) were followed by Steve MacNamara, a long-time veteran of the Tallahassee scene who has been a university professor, a lobbyist and held stints as the chief of staff for two legislative leaders. It was MacNamara who tried to ease tensions with the press and tried to steer Scott into a more cooperative relationship with the Legislature. The blanket ban on lobbyists was lifted. Suddenly Scott was dressing more informally and holding lengthy sessions with the media in the governor's office. Scott visited newspaper editorial boards and scheduled work days to interact with normal Floridians.
MacNamara, however, departed in the summer of 2012 amid a series of articles detailing his role in contracts and his interactions with agencies. (Later it would be revealed in emails that MacNamara's influence with Scott was severely tested during the 2012 session of the Florida Legislature. Emails showed that MacNamara tried in vain to get the governor to veto a bill creating Florida Polytechnic University while encouraging him to approve a bill that would have given additional tuition raising power to University of Florida and Florida State University.)
He was followed by Hollingsworth, whose main job was to figure out how to rehabilitate Scott in such a way that he would have a shot at getting re-elected even though poll numbers suggested it was near impossible task. Hollingsworth was seen as someone who would quickly urge Scott to deal with potential problems and embarrassments heading into the 2014 elections. Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has said it was Hollingsworth who showed up to tell her that the governor wanted to resign following her questioning by law-enforcement authorities investigating a veterans charity engaged in what was deemed to be illegal gambling. (The charity had hired Carroll before she ran with Scott but no charges were ever brought against her.)
Hollingsworth was at the helm during one of Scott's most notable moments during his first term: His complete 180-degree turn on Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act pushed by President Barack Obama. Even today, it remains somewhat remarkable that Scott - who railed against Obamacare and even had run television ads attacking it - would come out publicly in favor of accepting billions in federal aid to expand who was eligible for Medicaid. (Under Sellers - and after his re-election - Scott would reverse course again and side with the Florida House in 2015 in opposition to Medicaid expansion.)
Other pivots, not as dramatic, also occurred such as Scott's decision to back in-state tuition rates for the children of illegal immigrants despite winning election in a 2010 platform that promised support for a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Starting under Hollingsworth (who brought on Sellers to serve as communications director) and continuing ever since she took over, Scott returned to limiting interactions with the press in Tallahassee. He cut down on appearances on conservative radio stations and instead shifted to appearances on national television outlets. And a combative side of Scott returned. He sued the federal government over Medicaid funding and he ordered an investigation of Planned Parenthood clinics last summer. Scott has ratcheted back up his criticisms of Obama. His push to get rid of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner led to allegations, apologies and lawsuits.
Yet ever since his re-election and Sellers ascension to chief of staff Scott has had a difficult time with his fellow Republicans in the Legislature and has had trouble winning passage of his priorities. There's lots of finger-pointing as to who is to blame (is it staff? Is it Scott's decision to not raise money for the state party? Is it ideologues in the House?) but the net result is that his two top priorities this year, including a $250 million business incentive pool, were largely ignored by legislators. There are some who say that Scott is isolated from those in the GOP and that has contributed to the problem.
But this month Scott did make a tactical decision to limit his losses. Instead of drawing out the battle he signed this year's state budget and did not engage in the long line of budget vetoes that some lawmakers had been expecting. (Senate budget chairman Tom Lee predicted $500 million in vetoes at one point and Scott did roughly half that.) Talk of possible veto overrides has disappeared and the good thing for Scott is that legislators probably won't return to the Capitol until November.
The governor still has a tremendous amount of time left in his second term in office so there's plenty of time for him to repair relations if he wants to. By tapping McDougal he has found someone who has a good idea about how the capital works - but is less familiar with the political ramifications of every decision that the governor makes.
Scott of course will continue to place a large part of his focus on the state's economy and job creation since it's the message that has helped him in two elections (and remains a top concern for most Floridians.)
But will he take a more pragmatic approach on dealing with the Legislature, dealing with the press, and figuring out what to do in the myriad of issues that confront him on a daily basis? For example: One of the less touched on elements of Sellers time as chief of staff is that Scott brought in Julie Jones to run the Department of Corrections. While problems remains in the state's troubled prison agency, there are signs that Jones has tried to reform the department (although she too lost out this session on getting the Legislature to bless all of here proposed changes.)
So the question is will Scott change direction yet again with McDougal now on board?
Will the next two and a half years be relatively quiet and will the governor and McDougal have a caretaker attitude, or will there be new initiatives, new promises, and new conflicts with the two incoming legislative leaders? The next House speaker - Richard Corcoran - has a lengthy list of contentious items he wants to tackle that could prove challenging for Scott.
Will Scott - who never had been a politician until running for governor - present Floridians with another version of himself? Or will he stick to what he's given voters so far?