Glenn Sutphin no longer has the interim tag affixed to his title at the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs.
A longtime chief of staff and legislative affairs director for the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Sutphin was unanimously appointed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet as executive director of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
In a prepared statement, Scott said Sutphin, who in recent months has served as interim executive director, "has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to his fellow veterans, and I am confident he will continue to honorably serve our state and the many veterans who proudly call Florida home."
Sutphin, 67, who was the only candidate interviewed out of more than 300 applicants, intends to push for additional nursing homes for veterans.
"There are many, many veterans in line, waiting to get in," said Sutphin, who has been making unannounced visits to state veterans' facilities.
"We have extremely dedicated people who want to do a good job," he said. "They're there because they want to take care of the veterans."
Sutphin added that he doesn't want any facility to have the "smell of dirt or the smell of death."
Sutphin, a familiar figure at the Capitol, was appointed interim executive director of the Department of Veterans' Affairs in April after Mike Prendergast stepped down to run for Citrus County sheriff.
He had worked since 1999 for the Department of Military Affairs, which is made up of the Florida Army National Guard and the Florida Air National Guard. Sutphin's military career started as an enlisted soldier in 1969 and also included receiving a commission as a field artillery officer and serving in the National Guard, according to biographical information on the Department of Veterans' Affairs website. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.
The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
"Your on-the-job service serves as your interview for me," Attorney General Pam Bondi told Sutphin during the Cabinet meeting.
One of Sutphin's priorities is to get construction started early next year on a long-planned state 120-bed veterans' nursing home in St. Lucie County. The price tag on the project has jumped more than $20 million due to revised federal guidelines.
Sutphin also outlined plans to push for additional veterans' facilities, to reduce staff turnover and to make veterans in Florida more aware of the benefits that are available.
"We need to interface and network so that everyone is getting the right information, getting to the right place," Sutphin said.