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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott appoints DEO chief of staff as agency's director

17

December

Gov. Rick Scott has named Cissy Proctor to replace Jesse Panuccio as the head of the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Proctor has been the chief of staff at DEO, the state’s jobs agency, since last January and previously served as both director of legislative affairs and director of the Division of Strategic Business Development.

She will take over as executive director of the agency on Jan. 9 after Panuccio officially leaves the job.

Proctor is a graduate of Florida State University and FSU’s College of Law. From 2004 to 2013, she worked at Tallahassee law firm Bryant Miller Olive.

In a statement, Scott highlighted Proctor’s experience working with the legislature, a key point for the agency, which the governor frequently uses to tout his business development and tax cut proposals. This year, Panuccio has been grilled by senators over a $250 million fund for Enterprise Florida, as well as technological snafus with the state’s unemployment benefit system.

“(Proctor) has a strong background in legislative affairs, and I know she will be a great partner with the Florida Legislature to continue to diversify our economy,” Scott said in the statement. “Her great work to support job growth for Florida families is a strong testament to the work she will do as executive director.”

Those legislative showdowns are widely believed to have contributed to Panuccio’s resignation, which was announced Dec. 4. Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, said he was in “extreme danger” of not being confirmed by the Senate this spring.

“I was not a supporter of his,” Detert said.

Proctor will have to be confirmed by the Senate in the next two sessions. Shortly after Scott's office announced her appointment, President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, released a statement of support for the new director.

"I am certain this experience has prepared her well for the responsibility of leading this important agency and will aid in a smooth transition," he said. "My Senate colleagues and I look forward to working with Governor Scott and Director Proctor on key policy and funding reforms that will make Florida first in the nation in job creation."

[Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2015 11:21am]

    

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