October 22, 2021

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Nikki Fried claims Ron DeSantis illegally appointed DEP Secretary

3 min read

A months-aged dispute over how the Secretary of the Florida Division of Environmental Security should be appointed reignited Tuesday night, just several hours after Gov. Ron DeSantis named another person to the work.

By selling interim DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton to provide in the role forever, DeSantis broke condition legislation by skipping a vital stage in the appointment course of action, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried claimed.

Florida Statutes call for any DEP Secretary appointment to be permitted by both of those the Governor’s 3-member Cupboard, of which Fried is a member, and the Florida Senate.

As these types of, DeSantis “lacks the legal authority to unilaterally make this appointment,” stated Fried, who on Tuesday also submitted financial disclosures vital for her to run for Florida Governor subsequent 12 months.

It’s an concern more than which Fried, the only statewide-elected Democrat, and DeSantis clashed in mid-June.

The statute in question reads: “The head of the Section of Environmental Safety shall be a secretary, who shall be appointed by the Governor, with the concurrence of 3 users of the Cabinet. The secretary shall be confirmed by the Florida Senate.”

But DeSantis pointed to a passage in the Florida Constitution granting him ability to sidestep that necessity. It reads: “When supplied by legislation, confirmation by the Senate or the acceptance of three associates of the Cabinet shall be required for appointment to or removing from any specified statutory office environment.”

His interpretation, he reported, is acceptance can occur from either the Cabinet or the Senate, but not necessarily each.

“If you really look at the Constitution, it suggests either the Cabinet or the Legislature, the Senate,” he claimed at the time. “The statute states both, but there is an argument that it conflicts and that it would be a person or the other. My sense would be the Legislature would keep their authority rather than give the Cupboard authority, so that would be a stay issue probably, if we finish up with a conflict.”

When the very last DEP Secretary, Noah Valenstein, was appointed in 2017 below former Gov. Rick Scott, he acquired total Cabinet acceptance.

Fried created clear her objection to Hamilton’s appointment was not private. She pointed out she experienced achieved with him to discuss Florida’s environmental worries, “including DEP’s failures at Piney Position,” wherever 215 million gallons of wastewater leaked into Tampa Bay in April.

“I believe that him to be a fantastic gentleman and community servant, and he would split the glass ceiling as the first African-American secretary of this company,” she wrote. “My quarrel is not with him.”

Fried taken care of that her objection lays solely with “the alarming increase in (DeSantis’) disregard” for Florida law and the shared governance role of the Cupboard.

“Instead of distributing an appointment in great religion to the Cabinet for a community interview and vote, you chose in June to defensively inject uncertainty into a make a difference on which point out law is apparent — just as you choose now to disobey the law and your executive responsibility,” she wrote. “As I explained in June, you’re heading to have to deal with me and our fellow Cupboard users, if you want this appointment to be accepted.”


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