Jason Welty is out as chief of staff at the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The cause? The department won’t say, but there is some speculation that Welty is no longer with DJJ because he was quoted speaking for Governor Rick Scott’s administration in a recent story about how to divvy up the costs of detaining young offenders.
According to Margie Menzel of the News Service of Flordia, that conflict centers on DJJ’s handling of a 2004 law that requires the counties to pay the “pre-disposition” costs associated with juveniles waiting for their cases to be resolved in court. The state pays the cost of detaining juveniles “post-disposition” — that is, after their cases have been decided — but the two sides remain far apart on how to define those and other key terms.
Welty is quoted in the story by Menzel as saying, “It’s going to take the Legislature to resolve whether or not the counties pay for new law violations or not. We believe they should be”
There’s nothing wrong with that quote. What got Welty into hot water was when he said, “The governor believes that they should be…”
Actually,Gov. Scott does not believe that. In an email to Menzel, Scott communications director Frank Collins stated that is not the Governor’s position.
Welty did not make it until the end of the week.
In response to my repeated inquires about the status of Welty’s employment, DJJ Interim Secretary Christina Daly emailed me late Friday confirming that Welty is no longer with DJJ.
“We appreciate Jason Welty’s service to the agency,” writes Daly, and Fred Schuknecht is now Interim Chief of Staff.”
In other words, Jason Welty is now in the Departure Lounge.
Welty returned to DJJ in September 2013 after having served five years in DJJ’s legislative office before taking over as legislative director at the Florida Department of Corrections.