September 18, 2014

Key Advisers

Scott's Inner Circle

Florida's new governor is drafting heavily from the private sector -- and from outside the state -- as he makes key appointments.

Amy Keller | 3/1/2011

Herschel Vinyard

Herschel Vinyard
Position: Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection

Replaces: Mimi Drew, who had been serving as interim secretary since August 2010, when Mike Sole resigned

Previous Job: Director of business operations, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards, one of the world's largest defense contractors

Other experience: From 1990 to 1999, he was an environmental attorney with Smith, Hulsey & Busey, counseling clients on such matters as state and federal environmental compliance and permitting; he has served on the Jacksonville Port Authority, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturers Association of Florida and on Scott's Economic Development Transition Team.

Education: Undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University

What others are saying: While Vinyard has drawn positive comments from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and The Everglades Foundation, other environmental groups like the Sierra Club say they didn't know enough about Vinyard yet to comment on his selection.

William "Billy" Buzzett

William Buzzett
Position: Secretary, Department of Community Affairs

Replaces: Tom Pelham

Previous Job: As a vice president of St. Joe Co., from 2001-09, Buzzett led the master planning of more than 100,000 acres and 30,000 homes and helped St. Joe win approval to build a $330-million airport northwest of Panama City on land donated by the company.

Other experience: Assistant general counsel under former Gov. Bob Martinez, 1988-91; staff attorney, Florida House Judiciary Committee, 1991-95; judge, Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, 1996-97; executive director, Constitution Revision Commission, 1997-98

Education: Bachelor's in civil engineering, Tulane University, New Orleans, 1981; law degree from Florida State University, 1986

What others are saying: While the business community has greeted Buzzett's selection with delight, Buzzett gets mixed reviews from environmental groups. Linda Young, director of Clean Water Network of Florida, which has sparred with St. Joe over its developments, told reporters that Buzzett has "been at the heart and soul of some of the most destructive developments that the Florida Panhandle has seen" and called his selection a "cruel joke on Florida's planning process." Florida Audubon's Eric Draper, however, says that along the "gradients of developers" Buzzett lies on the "green end of that spectrum."

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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