Top Florida citrus executive resigns from job

HAINES CITY, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Citrus Commission has accepted the resignation of Ken Keck as the top executive at the Florida Department of Citrus.

Ken Keck resigned from the department Wednesday. Declining orange juice sales, citrus greening and higher taxes factored into Keck's decision.

Commissioners voted 7-0 to appoint Debra Funkhouser, the department's chief financial officer, as the interim executive director. The Citrus Commission will meet Aug. 31 to discuss the search for a new executive director.

Keck's annual salary was $206,000 plus benefits. Some state lawmakers had been critical of Keck and former commissioners for supporting substantial increases in the state citrus taxes that finance most of the department's activities.

Under Keck, the tax on juice oranges, Florida's primary citrus crop, rose 35 percent.

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