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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The week in Movers and Shakers

21

February

Scott hires DOT officials and his general counsel
Gov. Rick Scott hasn't chosen a candidate to lead the Department of Transportation, but he did fill two high-profile positions there last week. Francis Gibbs, transportation policy adviser to U.S Reps. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville, and Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, will be chief of staff. And Jerry Curington will be DOT's general counsel after working the same job at the Department of Children and Families.

Scott named Charles Trippe, a Jacksonville lawyer, to be general counsel for the governor's office. Trippe, a graduate of Columbia Law School, was previously a partner at Moseley, Prichard, Parrish, Knight & Jones and general counsel for litigation at CSX Transportation Inc.

Kathy Mears joins On 3 Public Relations
Kathy Mears, longtime communications professional of state leadership, will be the firm's vice president.

Alex Sink staffers on the move
Justin Day, the gubernatorial candidate's deputy finance director, joined Zepp Strategic Partners as vice president for strategic partnerships and policy development, CEO Victoria Zepp announced last week. Day, a Florida State University grad, previously worked for the Florida Democratic Party, Rod Smith's gubernatorial campaign, the Florida Mainstream Caucus and the U.S. Senate campaign of Betty Castor.
And Jeff Branch, Sink's deputy political director, is the new legislative assistant to Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami. Branch worked for Sink from October 2009 to November 2010, and had previously worked for the House Democratic Office.

Legislative affairs director, chief information officer named at DCF
Eva Baxter takes on a familiar role at the Department of Children and Families. She most recently served as chief of staff and legislative affairs director at the Department of Transportation. Baxter, an FSU alumna, also worked as an analyst for the Florida House Majority Office and as an analyst for Gov. Jeb Bush.
DCF's new chief information officer is Scott Stewart, formerly CIO for the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Stewart, a graduate of Florida Southern and Nova University, also had worked in the IT departments of the Department of Corrections and Department of Business and Professional Regulation. 

Tallahassee media shake-ups
Two News Service of Florida reporters are leaving the online wire service for newspaper gigs in Tallahassee. John Kennedy, a Florida politics reporter since 1983, will work for the Palm Beach Post. Kennedy was bureau chief of the Orlando Sentinel for 10 years. Kathleen Haughney will join the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. She joined News Service in 2008 after earning a master's in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield and a bachelor's degree from Penn State.

Florida Retail Federation picks up communications director
The trade association named John Fleming, a journalist-turned-PR pro, to the role last week. Fleming started his own public relations consultancy after working as vice president of public affairs for Salter>Mitchell from 2002 to 2008. The UF alumnus worked for the Tallahassee Democrat from 1999 to 2002.

News Service of Florida reports were used in this week's round-up. Send your personnel updates to ksanders@sptimes.

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[Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 1:46pm]

    

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