Lucy Hadi, who was the state’s top child welfare official until a ruckus over mentally ill jail inmates, is assuming a top job at the Department of Education, The Gradebook has learned. The former secretary of the Department of Children and Families will begin work March 1 as the department’s new chancellor of workforce and economic development. She’ll be making $132,000 a year.
Hadi resigned as head of DCF in December, a day after Pinellas Circuit Judge Crockett Farnell fined her $80,000 for ignoring his orders to move mentally ill jail inmates to hospitals, as required by Florida law. The agency acknowledged it needed more money to accommodate more than 300 inmates statewide who needed hospital beds.
Hadi has been a familiar face in state government for 30 years. She served under both Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles and Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, and did a stint as interim director of the state Agency for Workforce Innovation. The Legislature created the DOE workforce office in 2003, but Hadi will be its first-ever chancellor.
A DOE spokesperson said discussions about filling the position have been going on since last spring and Hadi was a strong candidate because of her government background and ties to the business community.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter