The Office of the Ombudsman and Public Services facilitates communication between DEP and the public. Duties include:
Assisting with questions and concerns
Providing references for agency services
Clarifying or explaining complex issues
Resolving disagreements and advocating solutions
Fulfilling public records requests
Public Records - Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state officials regarding state business are available to the public. Records and information may be readily available at no cost via one of DEP’s online resources.
Oculus: Web-based electronic document management system provides access to public records associated with permitted facilities and activities. Documents in Oculus are filed under a specific DEP program and facility. You will need the facility/site name or the facility identification number used in Oculus.
DEP Information Portal: Search by facility, site names or street addresses to find associated records. A search by document type is also an option.
DEP Business Portal: Apply for commonly issued authorizations, permits or certifications, pay fees and renewals, submit annual reports, subscribe to agency newsletters or search for records.
Meet the Ombudsman
John Calhoun, Office of Ombudsman and Public Services
John Calhoun’s prior experience with the state of Florida includes leadership of the statewide Customer Contact Center for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Business New Hire Reporting and Central Locate Investigations units with the Department of Revenue.
Calhoun retired, after 22 years, from the U.S. Navy as a Chief Petty Officer. His last assignment was as Senior Enlisted Leader for the Naval Office of Information (NAVINFO) and Public Affairs supporting Commander, Naval Forces Europe, Africa and Sixth Fleet. His awards include an Navy Commendation, Army Commendation, Operation Iraqi Freedom, GWOT Expeditionary, Overseas Service, Sea Service, Meritorious Service and Battle E.
There are many ways to submit a public records request including email, postal service, telephone and in person. Send requests by email to Public.Services@FloridaDEP.gov.
3. Will I have to pay for public records?
Many records are provided at no cost to the requestor.
Charges may be assessed for use of labor, systems, material, supplies and other resources used to provide access to, and copies of, public records. Departmental policy engages charges when staff are required to spend more than 30 minutes (continuous or cumulative) on activities related to fulfilling a records request; when systems are engaged outside their normal operations; when administrative supplies (paper, toner, CDs, DVDs, postage, etc.) are used; or any other quantifiable state resources are expended for the sole purpose of fulfilling the request.
When charges are likely, the person requesting records will be advised and, when possible, given an estimate of costs. In some cases, a deposit may be required before research into the request begins. Records may not be released until any charges are paid in full.
4. How can I request public records at the lowest possible cost?
When it takes less than 30 minutes of staff time and no significant resources are expended, there is no charge for providing records.
When making a request, you can keep costs down by being specific about exactly what records you want, the time frame you want and any qualifying details. This will be very helpful in ensuring that the search we conduct, and the records you receive, best meet your needs at the lowest cost to both you and the department.
We often work with requestors to help narrow searches that seem overly broad in scope. Contact us if we can assist you with refining your request.
5. How long does it take to fulfill a public records request?
Florida law requires that an agency must respond within a “limited reasonable time.” This is the time it takes to review the request, search, retrieve and process records for release. Some requests may take only a few minutes while others may take weeks. The length of time it takes depends on activity, volume and scope, but we are committed to providing requested records as quickly and efficiently as possible.
6. In what format will public records be provided?
Records will be provided in the format that they are used and stored by the agency. On occasion, the format may require specialized software (PDF, Outlook email, Microsoft Office, etc.) to access records. It is the responsibility of the requestor to obtain any software needed to access these files. DEP does not re-format data, create new records or spreadsheets, or write new reports to accommodate requests for information.
7. How do I contact my local district office?
Northwest District Brandy Smith (Brandy.M.Smith@FloridaDEP.gov) 160 Governmental Center Pensacola, FL 32502 850-595-0695 Counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington
Northeast District Russell Simpson (Russell.Simpson@FloridaDEP.gov) 7777 Baymeadows Way, Suite 100 Jacksonville, FL 32256 904-256-1653 Counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor and Union
Southwest District Shannon Herbon (Shannon.Herbon@FloridaDEP.gov) 13051 N. Telecom Parkway, Suite 101 Temple Terrace, FL 33637 813-470-5707 Counties: Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk
Southeast District Jon Moore (Jon.W.Moore@FloridaDEP.gov) 3301 Gun Club Road, MSC 7210-1 West Palm Beach, FL 33406 561-681-6676 Counties: Broward, Dade, Martin, Indian River, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie
3319 Maguire Blvd., Suite 232 Orlando, FL 32803 407-897-2914 Counties: Brevard, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia
South District Jacob Newberry (Jacob.Newberry@FloridaDEP.gov) 2295 Victoria Ave. Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-344-5701 Counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Monroe and Sarasota
Interested in subscribing to DEP newsletters or receiving DEP updates through email?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.