Rick Scott Cancels Lockup Contract, Forces Prison Boss' Resignation, Signs Lockup Contract

After Gov. Rick Scott's office made a stink about a television contract approved by state prisons boss Ed Buss for MSNBC to film its Lockup show at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, the show is now back on, but Buss is out of a job.

Buss didn't offer a comment on his abrupt resignation, but the governor's office addressed the issue in its announcement that Ken Tucker, assistant director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, was taking over the post.

"Regarding Buss, Gov. Scott said differences in philosophy and management styles arose which made the separation in the best interests of the state," Scott's office says. "The governor appreciates Secretary Buss' service to the state and wishes him well in his new endeavors."

The Department of Corrections announced the next day that the governor's office approved the Lockup contract at the Panhandle prison, which brings in an extra $110,000 to the state.

Buss had previously approved Lockup contracts when he worked in Indiana's prison system -- which had allowed Lockup to film inside its Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Institution through what the network called "extraordinary access" from the department of corrections and Indiana Supreme Court.

There was also a rift between Buss and Scott over the state's new Legislature-approved private prisons program, which includes $24 million in vacation pay and incentives for the prison guards.

But most of the heat on Buss' resignation surrounds the Lockup controversy, after Scott originally canceled the contract, saying Buss went over his head without authority to sign it.

Then the Miami Herald discovered that five of the governor's aides had actually been aware of the contract since April, and by the time Scott nixed the show, the Lockup crew had already begun filming at the prison.

Now after canceling the contract and forcing the resignation of Buss, Scott approved the contract, and the Lockup crew is back filming rapists, murderers, and the rest of the convicts at the prison.

Rachel Maddow, MSNBC's staple of lefty punditry, had brought up concerns on her show over the Lockup contract being an issue due to her criticism of the governor, although the governor's office told Maddow they didn't even realize it was the same network.

Naturally, Maddow addressed the drama in her Friday show -- this time not wearing an orange jumpsuit -- but, like most everyone else, said it made no sense for the governor to deny the contract, force out the prisons boss, then accept the contract.

"Rick Scott and Florida have lost their state's prisons chief," Maddow said. "And Florida... still has Rick Scott."

Check out Friday's video on the Lockup controversy from Rachel Maddow below:

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley