A behind-the-scenes battle involving allegations of political meddling by Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office erupted publicly as the ousted director of Florida’s top law enforcement agency called Scott a liar for claiming he resigned voluntarily, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Former Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said he was forced to quit without explanation Dec. 16 after eight years as commissioner and more than two decades with the agency. “He resigned,” Scott said yesterday. Bailey, 67, said Scott isn’t telling the truth. “I did not voluntarily do anything,” Bailey said. “If he said I resigned voluntarily, that is a lie. If he said that, he’s being totally untruthful.”
Later, Scott’s office said, “Like in business, Gov. Scott thinks it’s good to frequently get new people into government positions of leadership.” Before Bailey’s resignation, tensions escalated over what Bailey and others at his agency viewed as improper interference in agency operations by Scott’s office and his re-election campaign team, headed by campaign manager Melissa Sellers and out-of-state operatives with little experience in working with the agency. For example, Bailey refused to take part in a conference call to discuss the governor’s platform or to contribute to his campaign.