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Crist promotions: Drago and Smith, longtime external affairs head

Gov. Charlie Crist just announced he is appointing DBPR Secretary Charles “Chuck” Drago to deputy chief of staff, and longtime external affairs director Stephanie Smith will serve a larger role as "executive deputy chief of staff."

Charlie Liem, chief of staff for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, will take over as DBPR secretary temporarily, filling Drago's spot.

“Chuck’s work, managing the state agency that licenses over one million professionals working in a wide variety of businesses, has been a tremendous service to the people of Florida,” Crist said.  “His previous law enforcement experience, as well as his leadership and supervisory expertise, clearly demonstrates his talent as an effective manager.”

Drago has served as DBPR secretary since early 2008 and was of the deputy secretary before that. As a deputy chief of staff he will oversee state law enforcement agencies, as well as the Florida Lottery and Departments of Management Services and Business and Professional Regulation.
“Stephanie has done excellent work to coordinate and manage our administration’s efforts to educate and involve the people of Florida in their state’s government,” Crist said.  “She has been a valued advisor, team member and an important link with community organizations throughout our state.”
Smith, 29, has served as director of external affairs for Governor Crist since January 2008 after serving as deputy director in 2007. Previously, she was the Tampa Bay Area regional director for the Charlie Crist Campaign for Governor in 2006. From 2003 to 2005, she served in the Executive Office of the Governor, first as a business development liaison in the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, and then as a special events coordinator. In 2003, she was a legislative assistant for the Florida League of Cities. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University. 
Drago’s and Liem’s appointments are effective beginning November 30, 2009.