Larry Ringers, reporting for highway duty
It's not every day that the governor of Florida spends an hour with rank-and-file workers at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In fact, it may never have happened until Tuesday, when Gov. Charlie Crist paid a visit to the nondescript Kirkman Building on U.S. 27 in Tallahassee.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of DHSMV as a state agency, and it is the 70th anniversary of the Florida Highway Patrol, the most visible component of the highway safety agency. For Crist's arrival, agency employees set up display booths and turned out in force on a sweltering morning to see Crist sign five public safety-related bills under a big white tent set up in the agency's parking lot. One bill makes Florida the 20th state to require DNA samples be taken of anyone who is charged with a felony.
Legislators on hand: Sen. Victor Crist and Reps. Rachel Burgin and Marty Kiar and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who pushed for one of the bills which expands a law penalizing assaults on officers to include law enforcement Explorers (ages 14-20).
Among those on hand were Larry Ringers (left), the former chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, in his second day on the job as chief of staff to DHSMV Executive Director Electra Bustle. Ringers clearly is enjoying his new assignmen and he joked with another state employee about the rarity of a governor's arrival. "See? You get me out here, you get the governor," Ringers said. (Read Ringers' official letter of resignation to Kottkamp here).
Crist watched as a drug-sniffing dog went through its paces, and the governor who vetoed a 2-percent salary cut for some state workers posed for pictures with a number of employees.