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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ed Buss testifies, over Gov. Scott's strong objections



Deposed Florida prisons chief Ed Buss was back in Tallahassee Monday -- and his ex-boss, Gov. Rick Scott, didn't want him there.

Buss spent two-and-a-half hours at the Broad & Cassel law firm answering questions under oath in a deposition sought by the Florida Police Benevolent Association. The PBA is suing the state in an attempt to block a massive privatization of about 30 prisons and work camps in 18 South Florida counties.

Scott's attorneys had tried in vain to get the First District Court of Appeal to block Buss from answering questions. Before he was forced out in August, Buss repeatedly made skeptical comments about the wisdom of the privatization venture, and once said that he was glad the correctional officers' union was suing the state.

Buss declined to comment as he left the Broad & Cassel offices. Across the street, Scott said an important principle was at stake in the case.

"It had nothing to do with Ed Buss," Scott told The Buzz's Katie Sanders.  "It's a common principle that high ranking people in government don't testify. And the problem is that if they change that, what's going to happen is you're going to have people that won't want to take these jobs because what's happened is they'll always be in depositions or testifying."

Buss spent the afternoon fielding questions from PBA attorney Kelly Overstreet Johnson. PBA executive director Matt Puckett, who watched, described Buss' performance as "classy and professional" and said the ex-prison chief did not directly offer an opinion on privatizing more prisons. "In testimony, he seemed to just not have an opinion. It was something he was told to do," Puckett said.



[Last modified: Monday, September 26, 2011 5:33pm]


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