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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Before leaving, Buss dissed privatization (again)



Shortly before he was forced out on Aug. 24 as Florida's secretary of corrections, Ed Buss gave an interview in which he spoke skeptically about the Legislature's decision to privatize all prisons in an 18-county region of South Florida. Speaking to CorrectionsOne, a website for corrections officers, Buss was asked: "So, is privatization a sure thing in Florida?"

"We don't know yet," Buss replied. "It has to be proven to save money. So if it doesn't save money then we won't do it." (Lawmakers did not give Buss an option; it's mandatory. Vendors have until Sept. 23 to submit proposals to run 30 prisons and work camps).

Referring to the coming shakeup in which thousands of state employees could be displaced by a private vendor, Buss said: "It's tough as a leader to look at your staff and say, 'It's gonna be all right. I'll make sure that if we go to private companies, you're going to have like benefits, like pay and it's gonna be okay.' The unknown is a very tough situation." The full interview with Buss is here.

Buss' lack of enthusiasm for the most ambitious privatization venture in state government history is widely believed to have played a role in the decision by Gov. Rick Scott and Chief of Staff Steve MacNamara to seek Buss' walking papers.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:29am]


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