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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ex-Florida prisons chief Ed Buss, 50, has died in Indiana



Ed Buss, who served as Gov. Rick Scott's first secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, died Friday in his native Indiana. He was 50 years old. Buss' obituary in the LaPorte (Ind). Herald Argus says he died unexpectedly. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Buss' death was first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat. Buss began his career as an Indiana corrections officer in 1987 and was one of Scott's first hires after he was elected governor in 2010. The state of Michigan also was interested in hiring him, and as recently as last year, his obituary said, he was a contract monitor for Michigan. At the time of his death he was a corrections consultant.

Buss' tenure in Tallahassee was brief and tumultuous. He invited the Times/Herald in 2011 on one of his many visits to rural prisons, and said he took the Florida job because Scott "is going to do tremendous things." But he was fired in August of 2011 after clashing with Scott's then-chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, over contracts. There were philosophical differences, too: Scott was aggressively trying to privatize Florida prisons at the time and Buss made no secret of his opposition to privatization.

One of the first major policy changes Buss made at DOC was to put correctional officers on 12-hour shifts, not eight-hour shifts. In the past week, Scott announced a reversal of that policy back to eight-hour workdays.

[Last modified: Monday, January 18, 2016 1:54pm]


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