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Crist appoints Walt McNeil new corrections chief

McneilGov. Charlie Crist today appointed Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice and former Tallahassee Police Chief Walt McNeil to head up the Department of Corrections as first reported on Naked Politics. McNeil is one of two Democrats who head agencies under Crist, the other is former Attorney General Bob Butterworth who leads the Department of Children and Families. McNeil replaces Jim McDonough, who held the post briefly under former Gov. Jeb Bush.

McNeil said at the morning news conference: "Why move to the Department of Corrections, and the answer is a simple response and answer and that's to serve the people of Florida. I accept the challenge and call to serve.''

McDonough thanked Crist for allowing him to stay on to complete the goals he'd begun under Bush and thanked him for letting him leave now.

Said Crist: "I know Chief McNeil will do an extraordinary job...continue to move the ball forward and do the right thing." Why didn't Crist choose someone from within the agency? "I just have a personal affinity for this man and his style of leadership," Crist said.

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