Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones told a Senate committee Monday that the re-assignment of her agency’s inspector general was of his own choosing, not because of performance issues.
Jeffery Beasley announced last week that he is stepping down to head up the department’s intelligence division. Beasley’s job change comes as the corrections department has been plagued for more than a year by widespread criticism and allegations that Beasley and his office failed to investigate or may have even hindered investigations into suspicious deaths, beatings and medical neglect of inmates in the state prison system.
While giving an update to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday afternoon, Jones spoke about ways she's trying to improve the environment within the agency by focusing on values, such as supervisory accountability. Senators had one question about Beasley's job change -- specifically, how Jones' vision jibes with Beasley's re-assignment.
“I’m trying to understand how someone goes from being an I.G. that perhaps they didn’t perform well or something, and then they get integrated in the system,” said Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, vice-chairwoman of the committee. “What kind of signal does that send?”
Jones said there were “no performance issues” with Beasley.
“He did four years’ worth of good duty and has elected to step away from his position and do something different,” she said.
Beasley, 41, similarly told the Miami Herald last week that he elected voluntarily to move into the new role.
“This is a phenomenal move and opportunity," Beasley told the Herald. “This is not the secretary running me out of the position. This is not the governor forcing me out of the office."
Beasley is expected to continue as inspector general for a few more weeks. The intelligence division, which Beasley will now oversee, is tasked with probing inmate-generated crime, including identity theft and drug and tobacco trafficking.
Jones told reporters she will have no role in recommending Beasley's successor.
"That is not my responsibility," she said, adding that Melinda Miguel -- Gov. Rick Scott’s appointed chief inspector general -- will advertise the position and put together an interview board, which will make recommendations to Miguel and Jones.
Photo credit: The Florida Channel