Political Notebook


Another casualty from A-F controversy?

The latest unconfirmed report around the Statehouse is that Gov. Mike Pence's legislative director is out.

Heather Neal was Tony Bennett's chief of staff last year when the former Superintendent of Public Instruction allegedly scrambled to change the A-F accountability grade of a charter school.

In one email about Christel House possibly not receiving an "A" grade, Neal responded to Bennett, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved."

While Bennett resigned his post as Florida's education commissioner and several other staffers who followed Bennett there also left, Neal has been floating under the radar in Pence's office.

A reliable source told Political Notebook Neal is being removed from her legislative director post.

Today Pence didn't deny that Neal was on her way out.

Instead, he said she was a "valuable member of our staff" who played a critical role in this year's legislative session, where she served with "great distinction."

But Pence also twice said "I have nothing further to add about her status at this time."

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.