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Making room for the governor's budget staff, DOR's Biegalski ousts division leaders with no explanation

Leon-BiegalskiThe Florida Department of Revenue has ousted top employees and kept positions vacant for months to make room for many of Gov. Rick Scott's loyal staffers who will be out of their jobs when he leaves office this year, even though none of them have any experience in that department's main responsibility, tax administration.

The shakeup was managed by Leon Biegalski, the governor's surprise pick to head the Department of Revenue in March 2016, and key jobs were given to former staff at the governor's Office of Policy and Budget (OPB). But just days after Scott signed his last budget, on Friday, April 6, Biegalski and his aides ordered the ouster of the two top officials of the Office of Property Tax Oversight, Maurine Gogarty and Timisha Brooks, and by the next Monday the replacements from OPB were settled in.

The division is charged with monitoring local government tax rolls to make sure they are in compliance with state law, providing oversight of value adjustment board proceedings and approving the annual budgets of property appraisers and most tax collectors but the new director, Brandi Gunder, had no tax administration experience but had managed seven people.

The lengthy job description for Gogarty included a requirement that the candidate have "5+ years of ad valorem/property tax administration or appraisal experience. Managerial experience, preferably of a tax administration program." Candidates who were members of a professional appraisal organization and have completed specified appraisal courses were preferred. The job managed 169 employees. Story here. 

Here is Gogarty's file before he was ousted and Gunder's application for a job in which the department accepted no other applications, her resume: (Note, this post has been updated with a new resume for Gunder. DOR says that because she is the adult childof someone in law enforcement, her home address is covered by the public records exemption.)

Download Gogarty (1)

 Download Gunder (002)