This week, state CFO Jimmy Patronis named Julie Jones as his top deputy.
Jones takes over as deputy CFO from Jay Etheridge who is retiring following his work on the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).
“As deputy CFO, Jones will be responsible for divisions encompassing sworn law enforcement, including Investigative and Forensic Services, Public Assistance Fraud and Workers’ Compensation, which all work to prosecute insurance fraud,” the CFO’s office noted.
“When Julie expressed interest in rejoining public service, this was a no-brainer. At a time when too many Florida communities are facing increasing insurance rates resulting from fraud, I’ve directed Julie to use all the tools at her disposal to super-charge our divisions to crack down on fraud, waste and abuse. Through her decades of executive-level leadership, coupled with her experience in law enforcement, we’ll need her out-of-the-box thinking, and her relationships with local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies, to take the fight against the criminal elements that are stealing from hardworking Floridians. Julie is a tireless change-agent and as criminals’ strategies are becoming more complex and advanced, we need to ensure our law enforcement is flexible and adaptable enough to tackle what’s being asked of them – and Julie is the right person for the job.” Patronis said on Wednesday.
Jones is a longtime fixture in state government, serving as secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections from 2015 to 2019 and as the executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles from 2009 to 2014. Jones also was the director of law enforcement of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from 2002 to 2009.
Patronis offered Etheridge a tip of the cap on his retirement. Etheridge held the deputy post since 2012, serving under both former state CFO Jeff Atwater and Patronis.
“There are so many families in so many communities throughout Florida that will never know just how much Jay worked to keep them safe. At a time when law enforcement has been under attack by numbskulls that want to ‘defund the police,’ Jay served as a shining example of what a good cop looks like and what law enforcement means to our communities. Over the course of his 38 years of service, Jay led in creating the Child Abduction Response Team in Central Florida after the abduction of Elizabeth Smart. More recently since COVID, Jay has been laser focused on ensuring our first responders get the equipment and resources they needed to protect themselves and their loved ones as they respond to emergency after emergency. The second I became CFO and met with my predecessor Jeff Atwater, I knew to be successful we had to keep Jay on board. The fact is Florida is a better place because of Jay. He was a positive force in the lives of so many of our brave men and women throughout our department. Even though we’re losing a rock star I know that his values, professionalism, and sense of justice will live throughout this agency for decades to come,” Patronis said.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.