Outgoing Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen has moved up his departure date.
After saying Friday that he would exit Sept. 1 after 38 years with the department, Swearingen sent notes to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried that said he will step down May 1.
No explanation was given for the change.
DeSantis and the three other statewide elected officials, who make up the Cabinet, will meet Tuesday.
Swearingen is scheduled to present four items to the Cabinet, including nominees to the 2022 Florida Law Enforcement Hall of Fame.
Under a new state law (SB 1658), the approval process for appointment of the FDLE commissioner was changed from requiring the approval of all three Cabinet members to a majority vote of the governor and the Cabinet, with the governor on the prevailing side.
Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat and a candidate for governor, speculated in a statement Friday that Swearingen wasn’t among DeSantis’ “cronies.”
The governor’s office issued a statement Friday expressing appreciation for Swearingen’s “tenured service to the safety of all Floridians.” It also said it looked “forward to bringing forward a new candidate in the near future.”
Swearingen has run the agency since December 2014 and is paid $155,530 a year.