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Politics

Jon Steverson Resigns as FDEP Secretary

January 21, 2017 - 7:15am
Jon Steverson addresses the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management district boards
Jon Steverson addresses the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management district boards

Jon Steverson, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection since December 2014, resigned his position Friday, effective Feb. 3.

In a letter of resignation to Gov. Rick Scott, Steverson gave no reason for his decision to leave nor did he say what he will do next.

"Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you and the people of the great state of Florida in this role for the last two years," he told Scott. "In this time, the Department has worked tirelessly to meet our vision of creating strong community partnerships, safeguarding Florida's natural resources and enhancing its ecosystems. Your leadership and laser focus on actually completing projects that improve the environment and people's quality of life provided the foundation and motivation for the Department's success in those endeavors."

The governor was equally complimentary. In a statement following the resignation, Scott said, “I want to thank Jon Steverson for his hard work. Jon has devoted his career to protecting Florida’s pristine environment and I am proud of the tremendous and historic strides we have made toward safeguarding Florida’s natural resources during his time at DEP.

“Under his leadership, we have invested in Florida’s natural lands and completed projects which will ensure protection of our springs, restoration of the Everglades and the continued enhancement of our award-winning state parks for years to come.”

Jon Steverson
Jon Steverson

But the FDEP secretary has gone through rough patches, particularly in 2015 when the Senate failed to confirm him and he had to go through the confirmation process all over again. In fact, he wasn't confirmed until January 2016.

Steverson has been controversial. There were stories that it was Steverson who in 2015 ran off Blake Guillory, the executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, for failing to sufficiently embrace the tax cut Gov. Rick Scott demanded. 

Steverson also caused a stir by proposing to turn state parks into cattle ranches, logging operations and hunting grounds. Then, he created a media frenzy by hiring Gary Clark, whose qualifications were an online degree and a string of Subway franchises but no environmental experience, as FDEP's deputy secretary for parks and public lands.

Prior to 2015, Steverson had served as executive director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District since 2012, where he oversaw a restructuring of the agency and its budget. Before that, he served at DEP from 2011 to 2012 as special counsel on policy and legislative affairs and acting deputy secretary for water policy and ecosystem restoration. He also served in the Executive Office of the Governor from 2005 to 2009 in multiple roles, including environmental policy coordinator.

Steverson could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

The only person that has been more detrimental to Florida's natural resources than Steverson is Scott. And I was so hoping the reincarnated Napoleon, or should it be Emperor Donald, would appoint him to some ambassadorship.

Jon Steverson is an honest and hard-working individual. He did a good job in a very difficult position! Best Wishes in his future endeavors.

no surprise here, the whole tenure was pretty much controversial... The final nail in the coffin was probably the Mosaic debacle...classic.

You know, I have to say Steverson did a good job at DEP. I am not unhappy to see him leave, but if you stop and think about it....he did what was best under the Gov and the guy is as smart as they come.

Y'all both got it wrong Christ is the only way the life AND the truth just keep that in mind we all will have stand before the throne and give an accounting

Best wishes to Jon and his family. He did a great job for the state of Florida and is an honorable man. His future is bright!

Hang your head with defeat and go away Jon Steverson........... what a waste of time. Now Charlie Christ is the man, he fits right in with being a government executive.

Charlie Christ is an interloping failure with one goal in mind: promote Charlie Christ. He has failed in every political party yet keeps rearing his ugly head.

Gee, how would you know . . . . . . you used an erroneous name (it's Crist, not Christ) twice . . . . if you can't even get his name correct, what makes you believe you know anything about him . . . . . facts and accuracy matter (unlike in self-delusional Trump World) . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

Frank, you poor man, the misspelling was obviously intentional. Those who worked around or followed C. Christ got it. Congratulations to Secretary Steverson. He did a great job for the State.

Yes, yes, we get it . . . . . just another Trump's white supremacist secret code . . . . so glad to know you and AZ are one and the same . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

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