State Government and State Agencies and Prisons and Government & Economic Development and Government

Indiana prisons chief heading to Florida

December 28, 2010

Indiana has lost its corrections chief to Florida.

Florida Gov.-elect Rick Scott on Tuesday named new heads for Florida's prison system and emergency management department.

Scott, who takes office on Jan. 4, picked Indiana corrections chief Ed Buss to run Florida's massive prison system and went to retail giant Wal-Mart where he found Bryan Koon to lead Florida's efforts in responding to natural disasters.

Koon will replace David Halstead at the Department of Management Services while Buss replaces Walt McNeil at the Department of Corrections. Both were appointed by outgoing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

The salaries for the new hires were not immediately announced.

Scott's transition team said Buss brings nearly 24 years of experience in corrections, emergency response, public safety, supervision and budgeting. In Indiana, Buss was responsible for more than 7,500 employees, 26,000 inmates and 10,000 parolees. He previously served as superintendent of two Indiana prisons where he was credited with refinements in death row and execution procedures.

"It was inevitable that other states would come after top talent like Ed Buss," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said. "He was actively pursued by several new governors."

Scott's transition team said the governor-elect chose to make the emergency management selection one of his first to emphasize the importance of that office and its critical mission protecting lives and property.

A former Naval officer, Koon was responsible for the emergency management operations of over 8,500 Wal-Mart stores worldwide. Koon also spent several years in the White House Military Office where he developed and maintained programs to ensure continuity of government and operations in the wake of a tactical or natural disaster, Scott's office said.

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