Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson has reapplied for his job, agency staff confirmed Friday night.
Before being named Secretary by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year, Steverson served as the executive director of the Northwest Florida Management District. Steverson previously worked for DEP 2011-2012 as special counsel and acting deputy secretary for water policy before being asked by Scott to serve as secretary during the governor’s second administration.
Steverson is reapplying for the post amid a controversy surrounding the resignations of Executive Director Hans Tanzler and four top staff members at the St. Johns River Water Management District based in Palatka. The departures have prompted criticism from environmentalists and newspaper editorial writers.
Steverson was one of 16 agency directors and secretaries that the Florida Senate did not confirm during the 2015 session. Most of those executives work directly for the governor. But Steverson, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner, Richard L. Swearingen, work for both Scott and the Cabinet.
In the wake of the fallout of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey‘s abrupt departure, the Cabinet changed the requirements for secretarial appointments and Steverson and Swearingen both had to reapply for their positions. The deadline was May 31.
Steverson’s 2015 Senate confirmation process made headlines when he repeated the phrase “climate change” three times during the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee trying to convince legislators that the phrase has not been banned.
The Senate refused to confirm many appointments after the session became acrimonious, with Scott reversing his position on Medicaid expansion and lining up with the House of Representatives to oppose the Medicaid expansion plan called FHIX.