Will Florida’s new CFO put down the seating chart?

patronis Florida’s next chief financial officer may not be seating the next table of four.

An emotional Jimmy Patronis — a former state lawmaker from Panama City who resigned his post on the Public Service Commission Gov. Rick Scott tapped him for the $128,972-a-year spot as Florida’s banker-in-chief — said Monday his phone has blown up as news of the appointment spread.

“I’ve gotten probably about 200 text messages over the last 24 hours,” Patronis said after Scott formally announced the appointment at Patronis’s Captain Anderson‘s Restaurant and Waterfront Market in Panama City. “And probably the most popular one is, ‘Does that mean I can’t contact you anymore to get a table at the restaurant?’ ”

Patronis, who will be sworn in Friday to replace Jeff Atwater, was an early political supporter of Scott’s in 2010.

That fact wasn’t missed by the Florida Democratic Party, which quickly blasted Scott’s selection of Patronis to replace Atwater, who stepped down to take a post at Florida Atlantic University, as “cronyism.”

Scott has used the dockside restaurant for a number of political events, including one of his “work days” back in 2011, when the governor was trying to personalize the issue of unemployment.

“He made me work really hard,” Scott said of Patronis on Monday. “He didn’t let me off the hook. He made sure I sold a dessert to everyone that was here.”

The Patronis family has deep ties in Panama City, where they have owned the popular Captain Anderson’s for five decades. The name is affixed throughout the community, including an elementary school on land donated by the family down the road from the restaurant.

Posted by Jim Turner