Doug Darling to lead Gov. Scott's new state Economic Opportunity Department
UPDATE: Scott's office has since formally announced Darling's job. Also announced: Cynthia Lorenzo is the director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation (no longer the interim director) and Mike Hansen is head of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Press release below.
The Buzz is that Gov. Rick Scott will name Doug Darling as the first executive director of the new state Department of Economic Opportunity.
Darling is currently deputy chief of staff for Scott and his chief Cabinet aide, earning $125,000 per year. Previously, he was chief of staff under then Environmental Protection Department Secretary Mike Sole and was chief of the state Division of Accounting and Auditing under former state CFO Alex Sink.
As head of the new agency, Darling will oversee most of the state's economic incentives and be expected to work hand-in-hand with state Commerce Secretary Gray Swoope.
From Scott's office:
Governor Rick Scott today announced the appointment of executive directors for three state agencies. Cynthia Lorenzo, who has served as interim director since January, will lead the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Mike Hansen will head the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and Doug Darling will lead the new Department of Economic Opportunity. Darling will also coordinate the transition of existing agencies into the new one, which streamlines the state’s economic development functions and becomes effective October 1, 2011.
Cynthia Lorenzo has led the Agency for Workforce Innovation since 2009, and previously was a deputy director, beginning in 2007. Before joining the agency, she served at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, beginning in 2005 as communications director and later as chief of staff and Interim Secretary. She previously served in the communications office of the Florida Department of Transportation.
“Cynthia has basically led the Agency for Workforce Innovation for the past five years,” Governor Scott said. “I am proud today to remove her ‘interim’ designation.”
Mike Hansen has more than 30 years of experience with health and human services policy and budgeting, beginning as a research assistant in Miami with the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. As head of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Mike Hansen returns to the executive branch of state government with 22 years of experience in various roles with the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives. Under Governor Jeb Bush, Hansen served as the director of the Office of Policy and Budget from 2003 to 2006 and as Health and Human Services Policy Coordinator from 1999 to 2002. Most recently, he was staff director for the Florida Senate’s Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
“Mike’s extensive experience with Medicaid services and budgeting will be of tremendous help as we continue to work to ensure the availability of services to one of Florida’s most vulnerable populations,” Governor Scott said. “At the same time, he will help us work with members of the disabilities community to develop strategies to avoid future budget deficits.”
Doug Darling currently serves within the Executive Office of the Governor as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Cabinet Affairs. He has served in Florida’s state government for 15 years at the Department of Financial Services, the Department of Education and, most recently, as Chief of Staff and Inspector General for the Department of Environmental Protection. Previously, while serving in the United States Marine Corps, he was the Congressional liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, as well as Comptroller in the Marine Air Wing. He is a graduate of Ball State University.
“As we work to make Florida the best place for businesses to grow, expand and create jobs, I am confident in Doug’s ability to lead our efforts to streamline existing economic development functions into one agency,” Governor Scott said. “Along with Commerce Secretary Gray Swoope, the Department of Economic Opportunity with Doug Darling at the helm will help our state create jobs for Floridians.”