McDonough likely to keep post at DOC


Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 11:22 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to announce this morning that he is retaining James McDonough as secretary of the Department of Corrections.

The governor's office has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m., immediately after a meeting with department heads that will include McDonough. The top prison system job is one of the last high-profile positions left for the new governor to fill.

Sources close to the process confirmed the appointment Tuesday.

McDonough recently rankled union leaders when he announced a plan to require corrections and probation officers to meet minimum physical standards annually based on gender and age. Police Benevolent Association leaders gave more than $2 million in campaign donations during the past years, primarily to Crist and the Republican Party.

McDonough replaced James Crosby as secretary in February after years of state and federal investigations. Crosby subsequently pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks and is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Jacksonville on Jan. 17.

Before taking over the prisons, McDonough served as the state's drug czar for both of Jeb Bush's two terms as governor. His prior career was as an Army officer who served in Vietnam and Bosnia. Some have criticized his management as being too militaristic, while others applauded his decisions.

Among the management changes McDonough has overseen so far have been the firing of dozens closely linked to Crosby, tightening the dress code, implementing a new drug testing program and resurrecting a drug detection program using dogs.

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