Jerry Regier came to Florida to turn things around at the Department of Children and Families. He reminded us, “You will recall it was a time of chaos and a time of crisis.”
But now there's a whole new crisis. Regier admitted earlier this month that lucrative state contracts went to his friends.
“It gave the appearance of impropriety and I take full responsibility for my actions and they will not happen again.”
The agency now seems to be unraveling from the top down. Regier fired two administrators over the contractor scandal, and now his Chief of Staff, Samara Kramer, says she was fired then rehired after she warned Regier not to mix business with pleasure.
Doug Martin is spokesman for the union that represents thousands of DCF employees. Martin says the whole mess reeks of business as usual and Regier has to go.
“They're wasting an enormous amount of money to give contracts to their friends. I mean this is rank corruption and needs to be stopped.”
But a spokesman for DCF tells NewsChannel Seven no one in the Bush administration has asked Regier to resign, and Regier has no plans to do anything other than continue to lead the agency to the best of his ability.
Jeb Bush has continued to express confidence in Regier, just like he did in Regier's embattled predecessor Kathleen Kearney just two years ago. He told reporters back then, “I have confidence in Kate Kearney. The problems don't relate to Kate Kearney.”
But just a few hours after that interview in 2002 Kearney was clearing out her desk.
The state Inspector General's office is in the process of auditing several DCF contracts with private providers to make sure they were properly awarded.