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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Buss abruptly resigns as Florida prisons chief



Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Buss resigned late Wednesday after only six months on the job.

Scott already found his replacement in Ken Tucker, currently Florida Department of Law Enforcement deputy commissioner.

Buss' abrupt departure follows a pair of publicized clashes with Gov. Rick Scott's office involving a health care contract and a TV contract to film inside a high security prison.

Buss, 45, arrived from Indiana in February with a strong reputation as a reformer and cost-cutter. But he seemed unprepared for the high level of scrutiny that legislators, interest groups and the media gave the prisons system, with its long history of scandal and controversy.

Buss is the second agency head to leave prematurely in Scott's administration. Former state Rep. Carl Littlefield quit amid controversy soon after he was appointed to run the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Buss entered Scott's office about 5:15 p.m., nearly three hours after they were scheduled to meet. He had no comment for reporters who asked if he planned to resign.

Buss was one of Scott's first agency hires, announced the same day Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon in late December.

-- Steve Bousquet

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 6:28pm]


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