Ousted Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said he didn't resign. In a Tuesday interview with Times/Herald Capitol Bureau Chief Steve Bousquet, Bailey said he was forced out by Gov. Rick Scott with the concurrence of Florida's Cabinet.
Attorney General Pam Bondi wouldn't answer questions if she communicated with Scott's administration before Bailey's departure. What did CFO Jeff Atwater have to say about Bailey's exit?
Like Bondi, not much.
After Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Atwater said he didn't ask any questions about Bailey's departure. He also says that he was told that Bailey resigned.
Question: What are your thoughts on the departure of FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey? His departure was rather abrupt. As a Cabinet member, you have oversight on that, right?
Atwater: Yeah, yeah. I think he did a fine job for us. He really knew the agency well. When you come to the end of a term, I think there will be even more changes that will be taking place with agency leaders.
Question: Did you ask Gov. Scott about why he was leaving? Do you have any questions about his departure?
Atwater: No, I don’t. I think he had served, he had served admirably. I think he served very well. And so we were informed that he was stepping down.
Question: But why was he stepping down?
Atwater: I haven’t spoken to the Commissioner (Bailey) himself yet.
Question: You don’t have any questions about why he’s stepping down?
Question: Even though that’s part of your responsibility as a Cabinet member?
Atwater: He informed us that he was stepping down. So if there’s something else to that story, that he has not taken the time, we’re uh, we have a very good working relationship, if he had anything else to add, I would assume he would have added that. But just that he was stepping down, he appreciated his opportunity to serve.