Date of Award

5-1-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

<-- Please Select One -->

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. William H. Boone

Abstract

This study examines patterns of appointments to Florida boards and commissions as that system developed a dominant form. The research describes the constitutional history of Florida politics as it affected a sustained system of appointed boards and commissions. It examines the racial impact of the concurrent appointment system with particular attention to the representation of African Americans on state boards and commissions and the racial politics that developed on selected boards as African Americans became more representative on these bodies.

In this study, "concurrent appointments" are defined as complicated appointment procedures in which multiple authorities, such as the governor, executive officials, legislative leaders, nominating commissions, state judges, department heads, and members of local councils and commissions simultaneously appoint members to boards 1 and commissions. African Americans comprise 14.6 percent of the Florida population and have historically been excluded from full participation in the political system. In order to measure inclusion of the group, this work studied concurrent appointment schemes and the racial politics and agendas of Florida boards and commissions during the tenure of two Florida governors, Lawton Mainor Chiles, Jr. (1991-1998) and John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (1999-Present).

Three Florida boards were selected for this study because of their prominence in appointment politics, diversity issues, and racial conflicts during this period. The boards selected were (1) the Florida Supreme Court Racial and Ethnic Bias Study Commission and its critique of the Florida system that uses concurrent appointments to select judicial nominating commissions, (2) the Florida Board of Regents (3) and, the Board of Trustees, Florida Community College at Jacksonville.

This study concludes that the concurrent appointment process limits African- American representation on boards and commissions in the state of Florida, and it also finds that racial politics are significant and very often prevalent on boards that are designed to be neutral and free from partisan considerations.

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