DeSantis Could Bypass Cabinet on DEP Pick

Dan Florida, Legislative

(NSF/June 15, 2021) — Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested he might not get sign-off from the state Cabinet for his next appointee to run the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In what would be a precedent-setting action, DeSantis indicated he might only need approval of the appointee from the Legislature.

The issue came up during a Cabinet meeting when Agriculture Secretary Nikki Fried asked about plans to replace former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein.

When Fried, a Democrat running to try to unseat the Republican governor in 2022, said the appointment requires Cabinet approval, DeSantis disagreed. He feels the approval could instead come from the state lawmakers.


“There is an argument that it conflicts and that it would be one or the other. My sense would be that the legislature would retain their authority, rather than give the cabinet authority. So, that will be a live issue potentially, if we end up with a conflict.”

Fried says DeSantis wants to go around the Cabinet, in order to cut her out of the decision-making process.

“It protects our wetlands, our waterways, our natural resources. This is fundamental to who we are as Floridians, is the job of the Department of Environmental Protection. I think it was absolutely intentional that they (the legislature) left it as a unanimous decision.”

A part of state statute about the creation of the Department of Environmental Protection, says, quote: “The head of the Department of Environmental Protection shall be a Secretary, who shall be appointed by the Governor, with the concurrence of three members of the Cabinet. The Secretary shall be confirmed by the Florida Senate. The secretary shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor”, unquote.

(From The News Service of Florida)