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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Movers & Shakers: Shakeups at DEO, ethics commission



There have been several high-profile personnel changes in the past weeks, so here's a recap in case you missed them.

Shakeups at DEO

Gov. Rick Scott named his general counsel, Jesse Panuccio, as the state’s new job chief at the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Panuccio replaces Hunting Deutsch, who resigned from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity after news media exposed he had collected unemployment benefits while he took vacations in Europe.

Peter Antonacci will replace Panuccio as general counsel. Dorworth to lead Orlando office of Ballard Partners

Almost House Speaker Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, will manage the newest office for powerdul Ballard Partners lobbying firm, based out of Orlando.

“We’re thrilled to have Rep. Dorworth join our team and spearhead the opening of our new office in Orlando,” Brian Ballard, the firm’s president, said in a press release. “Chris’ leadership and knowledge of the issues facing Florida and the Orlando area will be an enormous asset to our firm and our clients.”

Dorworth served three terms in the House, and lost his reelection by only a few votes.

“Having the opportunity to join Florida’s leading public affairs firm is an incredible beginning to the next chapter in my career,” Dorworth said.

This is not Dorworth’s first time in the public sector. Previously, he was developer for the Madison Christopher Holding Company in Central Florida, according to a press release.

Ethics Commission counsel moves to Elections

Florida Commission on Ethics assistant general counsel Wayne Rubinas has left that position to be executive director of the Florida Elections Commission, the agency charged with enforcing the elections code.

Rubinas served 10 years as staff director of the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee before he was dismissed by former Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

Kevin King moves to PICO United Florida

Kevin King, who served as an aide for former Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, from 2006 to 2012, has taken a position with PICO United.

PICO is a network of faith-based progressive organizers, mainly dedicated to issues of social justice (voting rights, immigration, foreclosure and other economic issues).

He will be based in Tampa, but will spend time in Tallahassee during session.

Florida Blue hires Rep. Jason Altmire

Former three-term Congressman Jason Altmire accepted a job as vice president of public policy and government affairs with Florida Blue. Altmire was a health care lobbyist before he was elected to Congress in 2006.

DMS makes changes

Florida's Department of Management Services Secretary Craig Nichols announced Walter Sachs as the agency’s Inspector General.  
Sachs most recently served the Department of Children and Families as the Deputy Program Director for Economic Self-Sufficiency, where he was responsible for the program’s procurement and contracting activities as well as all coordination activities with other external agencies.  
“Walt brings a wealth of experience in the technical aspects of contract administration and performance measurement, which will prove highly beneficial as the Inspector General,” Nichols said in a news release.  “As stewards of public money, we have an obligation to ensure the utmost transparency in our operations.  I am confident that his contributions to this effort will be significant.”
Additionally, Sachs’ professional experience in state government includes both contracting and procurement roles in the Department of Juvenile Justice and the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. 

Dan Drake will be new director of the Division of Retirement Services at the Department of Management Services, according to a press release.

Drake is the former director of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, where he restructured the $11 billion plan there, according to a news release.

Florida's retirement system is currently in limbo as the state litigates changes to its retirement program. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has said he’d like to see more changes this year. 

Department of Health appoints new deputy for statewide services

Department of Health Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong has appointed C. Meade Grigg as the new deputy for statewide services at the Department of Health.

Grigg, a 30-year DOH veteran, will supervise the 60 county health department directors around the state.

Communications firm expands to Tallahassee
Steve Hull and Stan Smith are expanding Fort Lauderdale-based communications firm Smarter Story to Tallahassee.

Hull is an award winning TV producer and Smith is a co-creator of The firm specialized in TV and radio production, media placement, public affairs and web production, according to a press release.

Liberty Partners promotes Melanie Shanks Bostick

Melanie Shanks Bostick is the new vice president of Liberty Partners, a full-service government relations shop in Tallahassee.

Formerly the director of government relations, Bostick will continue to focus on public policy issues related to insurance; condominium and homeowners associations; energy and utilities; and tax and elections, but will now also oversee client relations, client development and the coordination of all client political fundraising and campaign activities, according to the press release.

Poynter Institute hires foundation head

It's outside the realm of what would normally be a Mover or Shaker, but it's worth a note that The Poynter Institute, which owns the Tampa Bay Times, has hired Christine Martin to head its new foundation.

Martin is a former vice president of university relations at the University of West Virginia, and will work with Poynter president Karen B. Dunlap and Brian Tierney, foundation board chair, to increase philanthropic support for the institute. She also has been named vice president for external relations and will be part of the organization's senior management team.

Martin was hired from West Virginia University, where she was vice president for university relations, according to a Poynter press release.

She previously had been dean of the university's Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. While at the university, she co-directed Poynter's summer college journalism program from 1997 to 2004.

"Poynter has always been the lodestar in my career, a bright light guiding my best work and smartest decisions," Martin said in a statement."This new position gives me a wonderful opportunity to combine my love for journalism, my passion for marketing and relationship building … and my love for Poynter."

Paul Tash, chairman of Poynter's board of trustees and chairman and chief executive officer of the Times Publishing Co., headed the search team.

Movers & Shakers is a weekly (sometimes!) catalog of personell changes in Tallahassee and beyond. Send tips to or via twitter @britt_alana.

[Last modified: Monday, December 10, 2012 4:48pm]


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