1. Archive

MacKay glad of chance to talk to grand jury

It was a novel, scary experience for Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay.

For the first time in his career _ in his life, for that matter _ MacKay had to testify before a grand jury Monday.

"This is a fairly intimidating experience, even when you're testifying at your own request," MacKay said before entering the grand jury room.

It's true that MacKay asked for it.

He took over as acting secretary of the troubled Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services in March, after the former secretary's resignation.

The agency has been embroiled in controversy for at least a year. Since last summer, the Leon State Attorney's Office has been investigating questionable HRS computer purchases and improper relationships with computer vendors. A grand jury has been meeting on and off for several months on the investigation.

After discussing the investigation with prosecutors earlier this year, MacKay requested that he be given a chance to come before the grand jury.

He got that chance Monday, for two hours. He was behind closed doors from about 3 to 5 p.m.

"It was a very good dialogue," MacKay said after testifying.

He didn't want to get too specific. The law prohibits witnesses from revealing state grand jury testimony.

MacKay did admit to being nervous, but he called the grand jury "a good group of citizens doing their job."

"I appreciated the opportunity," he said.