DeSantis taps former Judge Marstiller to lead Department of Juvenile Justice
January 2, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NSF) -- Continuing to tap state-government veterans for posts in his administration, incoming Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday chose former appeals-court Judge Simone Marstiller to serve as secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.
Marstiller was a judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal for nearly six years before retiring in December 2015. She earlier held high-level positions in the administrations of former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Attorney General Bill McCollum, including a stint as secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
“Few people have the leadership experience and government expertise to match Simone Marstiller,” DeSantis, who will take office Tuesday, said in a prepared statement. “Simone is among the most talented and experienced professionals that our state has to offer, and I am proud to have her join the administration as the secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. She’s established an exceptional record of professional accomplishment and I look forward to working with her to further improve our state’s juvenile justice system.”
Timothy Niermann has served as interim secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice since August. Niermann replaced former Secretary Christy Daly Brodeur, who resigned and has taken a job with the Ballard Partners lobbying firm.
Since leaving the 1st District Court of Appeal, Marstiller has worked with the law firm Gunster, Yoakley, Stewart, P.A. Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, who is chairman of the Gunster firm, is helping lead DeSantis’ transition team.
DeSantis, a former congressman who did not previously hold positions in state government, has been gradually making appointments to top administration jobs as he prepares for next week’s inauguration. He has not named leaders of some of the highest-profile agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Corrections, the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Health.
But at least so far, DeSantis has leaned toward appointing people with experience in Tallahassee.
For example, his chief of staff will be Shane Strum, who served as chief of staff to former Gov. Charlie Crist. DeSantis also successfully pushed the appointment of former House Speaker Richard Corcoran as education commissioner and is recommending Rep. Danny Burgess to head the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and former Department of Revenue Executive Director Jim Zingale to return to the revenue post. The State Board of Education appointed Corcoran, while Burgess and Zingale need approval from the state Cabinet.
Among department heads, DeSantis has named state Rep. Halsey Beshears to serve as secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation; state Rep. Jared Moskowitz to serve as director of the Division of Emergency Management; and Visit Florida chief Ken Lawson to serve as executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity.
DeSantis also tapped Deputy Secretary Richard Prudom to become secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs and has reappointed Barbara Palmer to lead the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and Jim Poppell to lead the Florida Lottery.
Not all of DeSantis’ picks, however, have extensive state-government experience. For instance, he named Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel to serve as secretary of state.