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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dickinson: driven out



He survived many a bruising political battle. But Fred Dickinson knew his days were numbered at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and he quietly resigned Wednesday after more than 16 years of managing Florida's driver license bureaus and the Florida Highway Patrol.

Having seen the handwriting on the wall -- that he wouldn't be reappointed by Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet -- Dickinson, 54, handed in a terse, four-sentence resignation letter. His last day will be March 6, the first day of the legislative session.

Dickinson is one of a handful of high-ranking state officials who report to the governor and Cabinet, and he was frequently at the center of controversy in recent years.

The auditor general last year turned in a scathing review of DIckinson's sole-source contract with a private company to produce the driver license handbook. Dickinson's wife Sherry lobbied for vendors who had contracts with her husband's agency. And many were shocked to discover that some of the terrorists who masterminded the 9/11 attacks had legally obtained Florida driver licenses.

In his letter, Dickinson wrote: "I look forward to the new opportunities and challenges in the next chapter of my professional career."  He told the AP: "A little new blood won't hurt at all."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:30pm]


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