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Gaetz's new team includes Vickers, Clark and Betta

Department of Revenue Executive Director Lisa Vickers has announced her resignation as the state's top tax collector Thursday and has been lured away to work for Florida Senate, where she will serve as incoming Senate President Don Gaetz's senior policy advisor for government operations, Gaetz said Friday.

Gaetz also announced that his long-time aide, Chris Clark, will be his chief of staff, replacing Senate President Mike Haridopolos' chief Craig Meyer. Katie Betta, communications director for outgoing House Speaker Dean Cannon, will play the same role for Gaetz, replacing Haridopolos' spokewoman, Lyndsey Cruley.

Vickers, who submitted her resignation Thursday to the governor and Cabinet, was making $120,000 -- significantly less than other agency heads under the governor and, after 20 years in the department, was considered one of the best agency heads in government. She was hired by Gaetz for $135,000.Download Vickers

Working at the agency for more than 20 years, Vicker oversaw $1.5 billion child support enforcment collections, collected a record $323 million in tax revenues from audits in 2011 and coordinated the One-Stop Business Registration program pushed by lawmakers to simplify the ability of small businesses to get started.

Gaetz, R-Niceville, called Vickers a "very solid player" who will help him take a more "subtantive approach to government operations" instead of one driven by ideology.

"Lisa and I have known each other since I first came into the Senate six years ago,'' Gaetz said Friday. "She's not a political operative. She's all substance. When it became necessary for me to start building a team Lisa was one of the first names that came to mind."

Gaetz said he will have additional annoucements in the coming weeks and hopes that it will send the message that he wants "seasoned substantive team,'' he said. "I'm not trying to build a cult of personality around Don Gaetz."

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