The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice and assistance to department heads and staff in all program areas, represents the department in judicial and administrative tribunals, provides training to staff, serves as the department representative in mediations and other alternative dispute resolution processes, and tracks all department related litigation. Additionally, the General Counsel or designee serves as the department's Chief Ethics Officer, the public records/open government liaison between the department and the Office of Open Government under Executive Order 07-01, and provides legal support for the department's HIPAA Privacy Officer established pursuant to section 164.530 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Legal advice and representation provided by the attorney staff under the direction of the General Counsel cover a broad range of matters including, but not limited to, personnel and employee disciplinary matters, rule promulgation, inmate and employee grievances, bids, contracts, sentence structure, early release, gain time, public records, land acquisition, subpoenas, garnishments, executions, HIPAA compliance, ethics, legislation, medical and mental health services, administrative law issues, re-entry services and programs, and correctional and constitutional law issues regarding inmates and offenders.
In addition to conducting extensive legal research and providing legal advice and assistance to department heads and staff in their respective program areas and performing other legal related functions, the Office of the General Counsel processes, reviews, appears as counsel of record in judicial or administrative tribunals and/or otherwise handles the following types of matters listed below:
- Public Records Requests
- Mental Health Treatment Facility Involuntary Medication Hearings
- Mental Health Treatment Facility Recommitment Hearings
- HIPAA Grievances
- Disciplinary Action Reviews
- Office of Inspector General Investigation Reviews
- Arbitration Hearings
- Public Employee Relations Commission Appeals
- Sentencing Order Reviews/Duty to Uphold
- Sentence Structure/Gain-time Cases
- Capital Postconviction Public Records Requests
- Contract Reviews
- Notices of Intent to Protest under section 120.57(3), F.S.
- Formal Protests under section 120.57(3), F.S.
- Bid Protest Hearings
- Contract issues/special projects
- Petitions to Initiate Rulemaking
- Department Procedure Reviews
- Form Reviews
- Health Services Bulletin Reviews
- Ethics Issues and informal opinions
- Administrative Rule Promulgation
- Agency Final Orders
- Inmate Correspondence Reviews
- Continuing Writ of Garnishment Actions
- Subrogation Claims
- Lawsuits referred to the Office of the Attorney General
- Lawsuits and Notices of Intent to Sue under Ch. 768 or 766, Florida Statutes, referred to Division of Risk Management, Department of Financial Services
General CounselLance Neff
Deputy General CounselDorothy Burnsed