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DeSantis Administration departures stack up at the start of the governor's second term

Dane Eagle speaks at a podium in Ducal County.
Will Brown
Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Dane Eagle

Two state agency heads are stepping down from their posts as Gov. Ron DeSantis moves into a second term as governor.

DeSantis announced in a series of tweets Monday that Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Dane Eagle and Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry Rhodes are resigning from their jobs.

Eagle’s last day will be Dec. 30, his resignation letter said. Eagle, a former state representative, did not indicate what his next move will be, but cited family reasons for leaving.

“Serving in your administration has been the honor of a lifetime, and I am deeply grateful for this opportunity. At this point in my life, however, my responsibility to my growing family is of the utmost importance,” Eagle wrote in a letter to DeSantis dated Dec. 2.

DeSantis in 2020 appointed Eagle, a Republican who served in the Florida House for eight years, to lead DEO in part to oversee the state’s unemployment system. The CONNECT system largely crashed amid a surge of claims during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eagle also has made numerous public appearances with DeSantis, many of them centered on the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic. DeSantis praised Eagle’s performance in the tweet announcing his departure.

“Under your leadership at (the department), you helped to strengthen our communities and nation-leading economy. We wish you the best in your next endeavors,” the governor’s tweet said, in part.

Rhodes’ resignation will go into effect Jan. 6. She was appointed by then-Governor Rick Scott in 2014 to head the highway safety and motor vehicles department, where she previously worked as the agency’s chief of staff.

Rhodes also held stints as commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and senior policy advisor in the Florida Senate president’s office.

“The decision to resign from the department, colleagues, issues, and mission that I love was not easy, and is filled with mixed emotions, but it is the right time,” Rhodes said in an email to employees Monday.

Rhodes also was appointed by DeSantis in 2019 to serve as a member of the state’s Blockchain Task Force, aimed at expanding the blockchain industry in Florida. DeSantis tweeted Monday that Rhodes’ “dedicated leadership and commitment to public service have made our roads safer for our state troopers and motorists who travel on them each day.”

Last month, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller announced her resignation. DeSantis appointed Marstiller to the post in February 2021.