DMS Chief of Staff Sean Gellis resigns, sets up law firm

Sean Gellis is setting up his own Tallahassee-based law firm, Gellis Law.

Florida Department of Management Services Chief of Staff Sean Gellis resigned his position effective Friday, with plans to start his own law firm based in Tallahassee on Monday.

Gellis served in the role for 14 months, moving from the General Counsel position at the Department of Transportation in September 2021, after working there for one year.

He previously served at DMS as interim general counsel and chief operating officer, where he oversaw the transition of the agency’s data center operations to the Norwest Regional Data Center. Before that, he worked as Assistant Attorney General in the Attorney General’s Fort Lauderdale office, and as an assistant general counsel for the Department of Corrections.

He’s now setting up Gellis Law with Edward Maldonado, founder of a Coral Gables-based law firm. The firm will focus on “government solutions,” especially in the areas of procurement, public records, bid protests, financial technology and transportation.

Gellis received a BA in History from the University of Florida in 2009 and his law degree from St. Thomas University College of Law in 2013 and was admitted to the Florida Bar later that year.

The move now leaves DMS Secretary Pedro Allende, a former deputy assistant secretary at the federal Department of Homeland Security who started as appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in June, with a spot to fill as the agency’s top aide.

Since he’s only been in the role four months, Allende is likely to stay on for DeSantis’ second term. After winning re-election on Nov. 8, DeSantis has been announcing departures and retentions of top agency heads.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller is retiring, but Florida Surgeon General and Department of Health Secretary Joe Ladapo is staying on, as is Department of Education Secretary Manny Diaz, Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue and Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Kevin Guthrie, who led the state’s response to Hurricane Ian.

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