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Movers & Shakers: TaxWatch exec resigns abruptly

H. Steven Hammond, who has been the executive director of the TaxWatch Center for Smart Justice since May, has resigned, effective immediately.

“I feel it is time for me to move on to pursue other interests and opportunities, not the least of which is further commitment to prison ministry,” the management executive and consultant stated in a press release.

Florida TaxWatch, a private, nonprofit, non-partisan research institute, will be conducting an “extensive search,” according to the release, for a new executive director over the next four months. In the meantime, Robert Weissert, vice president for research and general counsel, will be in charge.

 Meghan Speakes new head of communications for Department of Juvenile Justice

Meghan Speakes is the new director of communications for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, replacing C.J. Drake, who resigned to take a communications post at the Oregon Youth Authority, also a state agency.

Speakes, of Baton Rouge, has been working in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice communications office since November.

Like Melissa Sellers, Gov. Rick Scott’s communications, Speakes worked for the government of Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Before coming to Florida, she was the public information officer and social media coordinator at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. She graduated from Louisiana State University.

Speakes’ annual salary is listed at $59,999.94. 

Fort Myers resident reappointed to Board of Optometry

Gov. Rick Scott has reappointed Dr. Timothy E. Underhill, a 64-year-old, self-employed optometrist, to the Board of Optometry.

Underhill, of Fort Myers, will be on the board until Oct. 31st, 2015.

The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.