Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rick Scott replaces Florida's emergency management chief with former staffer

Posted By on Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 2:38 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo by Joey Roulette
Florida's emergency-management director is leaving the job as the state emerges from the destruction of Hurricane Irma and with two months remaining in the Atlantic storm season, Gov Rick Scott's office announced Tuesday.

Bryan Koon, who has been director of the state Division of Emergency Management since 2011, will leave office effective Sunday “to pursue an opportunity in the private sector,” the governor's office said in a news release shortly before 5 p.m.

No other information regarding Koon's departure was immediately available. The governor's office also did not immediately respond to a request for an exit letter from Koon.

Wes Maul, a former special assistant to the governor and currently chief of staff at the Division of Emergency Management, was named interim director by Scott.

Koon, one of Scott's initial appointments, came into the job after working as chief of emergency response for Arkansas-based Walmart. At the time, Koon pointed to his experience with the retailer as helping coordinate efforts of state and local governments with private organizations that use their own distribution systems, communication networks and manpower.

Scott said in the release Tuesday that under Koon, “Florida has been recognized as a national leader in emergency preparedness.”

“Since day one, Bryan has done an excellent job ensuring our state is prepared and able to respond to countless weather events including Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew and Irma,” Scott said.

The governor's office said Koon notified Scott on Sept. 1 that he intended to exit the $141,000-a-year job. At the time, Scott asked Koon to remain through the end of September because of “potential hurricanes forming in the Atlantic,” the governor's office said in the release.

Until last year, Florida had gone more than a decade without a hurricane making landfall in the state.

But Hermine hit last year south of Tallahassee and was followed by Matthew, which did not make landfall in the state but caused extensive damage along parts of the Atlantic Coast.

Then came this year's Irma, which made landfall Sept. 10 in the Florida Keys and Collier County and traveled up the peninsula, causing billions of dollars in damage.

In Tuesday's release, Scott described Maul as a “valued member” of his office and said that as chief of staff at the Division of Emergency Management, Maul worked “countless hours helping lead our state through Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew and now Irma.”

Maul joined the division a little more than a year ago. He earns nearly $116,000 a year.

Prior to taking the chief of staff job, Maul spent about three years in the governor's office. His duties, according to Maul's LinkedIn page, included running Scott's daily schedule and coordinating travel.

Prior to going to work for Scott, and while earning his law degree at the University of Florida, Maul spent just over a year as a delivery associate at Mattress Town of Gainesville, which the LinkedIn page said increased “average daily delivery capability by 211% through improved inventory analysis, logistics, and sales operations.”

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