Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that Mike Hansen, a Capitol veteran who has headed the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities, is resigning to return to the Florida Senate.
Hansen, who previously had a lengthy career as a budget and health care expert both in the Legislature and the governor's office, took over APD at a pivotal time. The agency was bleeding a massive amount of red ink but Hansen got the agency back on track.
Speculation in the Capitol is that Hansen will be the next staff director of the Senate Appropriations Committee under incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. The senator considered to have the inside track as Appropriations chairman, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has long had a positive working relationship with Hansen.
Hansen is the seventh agency head to depart Scott's administration since the governor took office 19 months ago. His replacement at APD will be the agency's current chief of staff, Barbara Palmer.
Previous agency heads who left were Carl Littlefield (APD); Ed Buss (Corrections); Kurt Browning (State); Doug Darling (Economic Opportunity); Jack Miles (Management Services); and Frank Farmer (Health).
-- Steve Bousquet