Some 'Very Pleased' By Gov. Scott's 4th Permanent Prison Chief Pick, Julie Jones

Dec 10, 2014

Former Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Julie Jones speaking about a proposed license plate redesign, Oct. 9, 2012.
Credit Florida Channel

Governor Rick Scott has chosen a new permanent leader for the Florida Department of Corrections. And, some are calling Scott’s fourth pick for prison chief “a good fit.”

On Wednesday, Scott announced Julie Jones, the former head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will lead the state’s troubled prison system.

“I'm very pleased,” said former Republican Senator Mike Fasano. “She was the Executive Director there [DHSMV], and I chaired the appropriations committee that oversaw their budget and was very impressed at the way she handled the department, the way she handled issues.”

In a statement, Governor Scott called her a “true reformer who is laser-focused on ensuring accountability and transparency.” And, current Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano—who seldom agrees with Scott—found common ground with the Governor on Jones’ appointment.

“She doesn’t put up with any garbage, and I saw that firsthand when she worked with the Legislature as Executive Director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,” said Fasano. “She will make it very clear what needs to be done, the changes that need to be made to make that Department of Corrections a better agency and also, to put our Correctional officers that do a good job first and foremost and she understands that.”

Jones’ predecessors include Mike Crews, who recently resigned the agency surrounded by inmate abuse allegations and cover-ups. There’s also previous Corrections’ Secretaries Ken Tucker and Edwin Buss. Former Deputy Secretary Tim Cannon is now the interim head of the agency, until Jones takes over January 5th.  She'll also be the first woman to head the prison agency.

Jones' law enforcement background includes a 26-year stint working as a sworn officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.