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Buss abruptly resigns as Florida prisons chief, Scott names replacement

Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Buss resigned late Wednesday after only six months on the job.

Buss' abrupt departure follows a pair of publicized clashes with Gov. Rick Scott's office involving a health care contract and a TV contract to film inside a high security prison.

Ken Tucker, FDLE deputy deputy commissioner, will lead DOC, Scott's office announced not even an hour after Buss resigned.

Buss, 45, arrived from Indiana in February with a strong reputation as a reformer and cost-cutter. But he seemed unprepared for the high level of scrutiny that legislators, interest groups and the media gave the prisons system, with its long history of scandal and controversy.

Buss is the second agency head to leave prematurely in Scott's administration. Former state Rep. Carl Littlefield quit amid controversy soon after he was appointed to run the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Buss entered Scott's office about 5:15 p.m., nearly three hours after they were scheduled to meet. He had no comment for reporters who asked if he planned to resign.

Buss was one of Scott's first agency hires, announced the same day Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon in late December.

Here's the press release:

Governor Rick Scott announced today that he has accepted the resignation of Edwin G. Buss as Secretary of Florida’s Department of Corrections.  Buss will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Ken Tucker.

Ken Tucker was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on June 2, 2006, and is a 34-year law enforcement veteran who brings significant experience and leadership to the position. As assistant commissioner Tucker has been responsible for providing overall agency management and policy direction for law enforcement operations statewide. He oversees the seven Regional Operations Centers, Investigations and Forensic Sciences Program Office, Forensic Services, and Field Services.

Assistant Commissioner Tucker joined FDLE in 1983 and has held various management positions including Special Agent Supervisor, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center, and Special Agent in Charge of the Jacksonville Regional Operations Center. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Commissioner, Tucker served as Deputy Commissioner for a year and a half. He began his law enforcement career with the Daytona Beach Police Department in 1977 after completing three years of military service.

Assistant Commissioner Tucker is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and a graduate of the FBI National Academy. AC Tucker is also a past President of the Northeast Florida Law Enforcement Executives Association.

Regarding Buss, Governor Scott said differences in philosophy and management styles arose which made the separation in the best interests of the state.  The Governor appreciates Secretary Buss’s service to the state and wishes him well in his new endeavors.

-- Steve Bousquet and Katie Sanders