After a four-year tenure punctuated by considerable controversy, Herschel Vinyard announced his retirement Wednesday as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement praising Vinyard's record and announced that his interim replacement will be Cliff Wilson, deputy secretary for regulatory programs at DEP.
"Secretary Vinyard was instrumental in helping us protect Florida's environment for future generations," Scott said. "Cliff Wilson has helped lead DEP's efforts to protect Florida's natural treasures. With his knowledge and experience, Wilson will ensure that the department continues to support Florida's environment."
Wilson received a civil engineering degree from Florida State University and serves as a mentor to engineering students there. He also has been DEP's deputy secretary of land and recreation and an assistant director in DEP's northwest district office.
Wilson becomes the third interim secretary of a large state agency, joining Mike Carroll at the Department of Children and Families and Tim Cannon at the Department of Corrections.
Carroll has headed DCF since last spring and Cannon was named interim corrections secretary on Monday, hours after DOC Secretary Mike Crews announced his retirement.
"It's certainly not uncommon when a governor begins a new term that you see new leadership at the agencies," said Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island. Referring to Crews' departure, he said: "It certainly wasn't a surprise."
Rumors continue to swirl in Tallahassee that at least two other state agency heads may be moving on as well: Ananth Prasad at the Department of Transportation and Kenneth Lawson at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Vinyard earned $141,000 a year. The DEP secretary is one of several agency heads who reports to both the governor and the three elected Cabinet members. Wilson currently earns $125,000 a year.