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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott's economic development chief resigns



Gov. Rick Scott’s economic development chief is out of a job.

Less than a month after the Legislature refused to give Scott $250 million to recruit more businesses to move to Florida, Scott announced Bill Johnson, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida is leaving after just 14 months on the job.

Enterprise Florida is a taxpayer-funded nonprofit that negotiates state relocation packages and hiring incentives to bring in big employers, a top agenda since Scott was elected in 2010.

“Bill has traveled the globe to let businesses know that Florida is the top destination in the world for jobs,” Scott said. “He played a key role in our mission to make Florida first for families and he has vigorously fought to bring new opportunities to the Sunshine State so we can grow our economy for future generations.  Bill has been laser-focused on helping us beat Texas to become the number one state for job creation in the nation and we are deeply grateful for his service to our state.”

Johnson’s departure, while sudden, isn’t completely a surprise, said State Sen. Nancy Detert, a Venice Republican who is a member of the Enterprise Florida board of directors.

“He probably wasn’t the best fit,” Detert said.

She said with less money to dole out to businesses because of the new state budget, the state needs less of a “salesman” to attact new business with incentives and more of a shrewd, business savvy manager who can manage what the state is already bringing ing.

“They are going to have a lot less money to work with,” Detert said.

Johnson gave no hint as to why he was leaving in a statement to the media put out by Scott’s office.

“It has been an honor to serve in this role and work alongside Governor Scott to bring more jobs to Florida,” Johnson said in the statement. “Our economy is growing with more and more businesses selecting Florida over our competitors.”

[Last modified: Monday, March 28, 2016 5:51pm]


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