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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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Bob Knight

Chief McNeil will be an asset to FDC.

The Iron Triangle Accountability Project, Inc.

Many of us in the Florida prison reform arena were saddened and concerned by the news of McDonough's departure. Feared was that DOC leadership might revert back to the Good Ole Boys responsible for creating what became the most corrupt and violent prison system in all of America.

Slightly less than two years ago Secretary McDonough inherited a taxpayer-subsidized criminal enterprise. Under his leadership the DOC has been substantially rid of the cancers responsible for it being likened to Orwell's Animal Farm.

Governor Crist should be commended for reaching outside the DOC for its new leader. His having done so indicates commitment to keeping the DOC steered in the right direction.

It is sincerely hoped that Secretary McNeil will continue forward with McDonough's efforts to make the Florida DOC a safe and respectable prison system.

Jade Lewis

I just wanted to tell you I think what you did was wonderful. I was charged with a person felony when I was 17 years old and I never thought it would affect what jobs I would be able get. With no higher education I took a CNA course right out of high school and worked as an aide for about 4 years. Then one day my boss called me into her office and said they had to terminate my employment. I had three kids and am a single mom. Also the town I lived in was small so there wasnt much employment opportunities that I could survive on. It was pretty devestating. Im not perfect thats for sure but Im sure it was a playing factor in some struggles I have today. I could get my felony expunged but that cost money I dont have. If it wasnt for people that cared I dont know where I would be today. I wish Kansas would do what you did!!! Thank you so much for your time.

Jade A. Lewis
Parsons, Ks


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