Mark Glass named permanent FDLE Commissioner

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The Florida Cabinet has approved Mark Glass as Commissioner of the Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), formalizing a role he’s held on an acting basis since May.

Glass replaced former Commissioner Rick Swearingen, who departed FDLE after 38 years at the agency. On Monday evening, ahead of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“We’ve appreciated his service,” DeSantis said at the Cabinet meeting. “He’s done a lot to help with a lot of different issues that the state is facing.”

Attorney General Ashley Moody also gave Glass her vote of confidence.

“He has been working extraordinarily diligently since you appointed him as interim,” Moody said. “I’ve personally met with him. He has a lot of ideas for the agency — ready to serve in this capacity.”

This past Session, the Legislature made it clear that FDLE agents will work in tandem with the Department of State to investigate allegations of voter fraud. DeSantis last week announced the first arrests stemming from those investigations.

Glass helped oversee those investigations.

Glass has been with FDLE since 2015 and previously was the Florida Fusion Center Homeland Security representative.

FDLE has a budget of nearly $388 million and nearly 2,000 positions.

Glass’ salary was listed as $110,261 annually as Director of Capitol Police. His new salary is listed as $150,000. Swearingen made more than $155,000.

As originally announced in late March, Swearingen’s retirement was set to happen Sept. 1, just two months before voters weigh in on the race for Governor and the three Cabinet officials that oversee FDLE. However, just three days later, Swearingen announced his last day would instead be Sunday. The outgoing Commissioner did not explain his expedited departure, only noting in his letter that the effective date “has been moved up.”

Swearingen had been in charge of FDLE for the past eight years. He ascended into the job after then-Gov. Rick Scott ousted longtime FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

Per a law approved during this year’s Legislative Session, DeSantis will have an easier time appointing a political ally to the position. Under the new law, the FDLE Commissioner can be confirmed by a majority of the Cabinet, rather than through a unanimous Cabinet vote. That blocks the ability of outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — a Democrat looking to challenge DeSantis in the Governor’s race — from stonewalling the appointment.

Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, both Republicans, round out the remainder of the Cabinet.

Fried issued a statement upon Swearingen’s retirement announcement, saying it was “no secret” that DeSantis wanted Swearingen gone, “since he was not one of the Governor’s cronies.”

Fried noted the new law in her statement, saying, “There are no coincidences when it comes to the DeSantis Administration.”

The department works in concert with local law enforcement as well leading statewide investigations, including probes into corruption among government officials. The agency also compiles crime statistics, maintains databases and oversees several crime labs that examine criminal evidence.

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Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

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