Bush names business agency chief

Former deputy chief of staff to head regulation agency that licenses one in 16 Floridians.

Article Courtesy of The Florida Times Union
Published August 2, 2005

TALLAHASSEE -- A veteran aide to Gov. Jeb Bush who led a crackdown on Florida's beleaguered technology office was named Monday as the state's new business regulation secretary.

Simone Marstiller, 41, Bush's former deputy chief of staff, was named secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation by the governor. The fourth secretary since 1999, Marstiller succeeds Diane Carr, who resigned Thursday as head of the agency that licenses one in 16 Floridians in a range of occupations.

"The word 'awesome' is used so often these days it's probably lost some of its intended effect, but I will tell you that leading this agency is truly an awesome responsibility," Marstiller said.

Marstiller was out of a job since the Legislature eliminated the state Technology Office on July 1. In 2004 as chief information officer of that agency, she had canceled $259 million worth of outsourced contracts after an internal investigation revealed possible bidding corruption. Bush had created the office in 2000 to direct state technology purchases, but various controversies had prodded legislators into erasing its funding this year.

A native of Liberia, Marstiller was previously a law clerk in Daytona Beach, counsel to the state Agency for Health Care Administration and general counsel and interim secretary of the state Department of Management Services.

"Simone has proven her commitment to public service and the people of this state, and I'm grateful she has agreed to put her talents to the full-time leadership of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation," Bush said. "I look forward to great achievements."

The governor also praised Carr, who attended Monday's news conference and told reporters she would be returning to work at her former Tallahassee law firm, Hopping, Green & Sams. She refused to answer questions following the news conference.

Carr had come under some criticism for a lack of responsiveness to the public. A legislative audit this year, for example, found a division within the department was answering complaints weakly and belatedly.

Bush also named a new policy director Monday: Janice Gilley, 39, a deputy in Bush's office and former Escambia County commissioner.