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Politics / Issues

Gov. Scott Admits Mishandling of FDLE Chief's Departure

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There have been questions raised about violations of the Sunshine State Laws in the way Gerald Bailey was forced out of his position as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott admitted Thursday he did not handle Bailey's departure correctly.

He met with other Florida Cabinet members Thursday during the Cabinet meeting held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Gov. Scott appointed Rick Swearingen to replace Bailey, and says he takes responsibility for how the process was handled.

"I wanted to bring in new leadership at FDLE as we transition into a second term in office," said Scott. "It's clear in hindsight I could have handled it better, and I take full responsibility."

Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and Commissioner Adam Putnam were also a part of the conversation. Atwater asked for a new FDLE leadership search, but the other members expressed support for Swearingen. Bondi said the only way the Cabinet would revisit the decision of who was appointed would be if Bailey asked for his job back.

"And I called Gerald Bailey and said, do you want your job back?And he said no, and he told me that he believed Rick Swearingen was the best person to replace him," Bondi said.

The Cabinet also discussed ideas to revise the process for appointing the heads of state agencies.