Rick Scott, state Cabinet OK Ryan Matthews as interim DEP secretary

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Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Wednesday formally approved Ryan Matthews as interim Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Matthews will serve until Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam decide on a permanent replacement for outgoing Secretary Jon Steverson.

Until then, Matthews will be paid Steverson’s salary of $150,000. The panel deliberated via conference call, though Matthews was at the podium of the Capitol’s lower-level Cabinet meeting room.

Bondi said she was “impressed” with Matthews, adding “he cares deeply about our environment.”

Matthews, named deputy secretary last year, had been in charge of the department’s air, water, and waste pollution programs and for overseeing the agency’s regulatory districts.

The governor and Cabinet also decided to advertise the secretary opening until April 28, with an aim to agree on a full-time hire during the May 23 Cabinet meeting.

Steverson last month announced his resignation to join the legal-lobbying firm of Foley & Lardner.