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Scott, Cabinet Approve Matthews As Interim DEP Secretary

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Wednesday unanimously named Ryan Matthews as the interim secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The vote, which came in a telephone conference call, confirmed Scott's Jan. 24 decision to make Matthews the DEP's interim director. Scott tapped Matthews, who most recently was the agency's deputy secretary of regulatory programs, to replace Jon Steverson, who announced he is stepping as the DEP secretary this Friday to join the Foley & Lardner law firm.

Matthews will start his new position on Saturday with a $150,000 annual salary, which is the same amount that Steverson has been paid.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said they all had in-depth interviews with Matthews and are satisfied with his ability to run the environmental agency.

Prior to joining the DEP in 2015 as the director of the office of water policy, Matthews worked as a lobbyist and general counsel for the Florida League of Cities. Matthews, who holds law degrees from the Florida Coastal School of Law and the University of Denver, was political director for Jeff Kottkamp's unsuccessful 2010 campaign for attorney general.

In a separate decision, Scott and the Cabinet agreed to open the application process for finding a permanent secretary on Monday, taking applications through April 28. Scott said the plan is then to hold public interviews with the top candidates, with a final decision slated for the May 23 Cabinet meeting.