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Two New Stories Show Scott’s Priorities are Wrong for Florida

From David Bergstein, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Spokesman: “Each day brings another example of how Scott’s self-serving politics are hurting Floridians: he’s got no problem spending tax dollars on pay raises for executives at his political slush fund, but ignored a clear a warning that Florida was ‘ill prepared’ for a hurricane. These are the same wrong priorities that motivated Scott to slash protections for seniors, hide critical information about dangerous nursing homes from the public, and have engulfed him in an ongoing and escalating scandal. At every turn Scott is looking out for himself, while hardworking Floridians pay the price.”

Miami Herald: Audit warned Florida’s hurricane response system was ‘ill-prepared’ for disaster
By Mary Ellen Klas
October 9, 2017

Key Points:

  • Long before Florida entered the deadliest hurricane season in a decade, auditors at the state’s Division of Emergency Management sent out a warning: the state was ill-prepared for a major disaster.”
  • “A 23-page annual audit completed in December 2016 by the agency’s inspector general detailed a lengthy list of deficiencies needed to prepare and respond to a hurricane… The report concluded: ‘The division’s ability to respond to disasters may be impaired’… [The Division] gave themselves a deadline: March 2018 — 18 months after the audit report and four months after the end of the 2017 hurricane season.”
  • This wasn’t supposed to happen. After the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, the Florida Legislature ‘found that improved logistical staging and warehouse capacity for supplies and equipment would help ensure adequate supplies and equipment would be available and accessible for responding to disasters,’ the December 2016 audit explained. So the state built the State Logistics Response Center, the SLRC, in Orlando and used it to stockpile supplies and equipment needed in a disaster. But in audit after audit in recent years, inspectors warned that haphazard management of supplies, poor record keeping and inadequate preparation threatened the state’s ability to respond to a natural disaster.”
  • “Auditors discovered that the warehouse was not only short of supplies, it was wasting money. More than half — 58 percent — of the warehouse space remained empty, while only 14 of the 27 office spaces were regularly used, the audit said. Auditors estimated the unused space was costing taxpayers $1.6 million a year.”
  • “The Division of Emergency Management was unable to answer how much more the last-minute supplies cost the state through emergency contracts and FEMA purchases than it would have had the state stockpiled more supplies before the storm. Auditors said the agency lacked an analysis that showed which approach was the most cost-efficient option.”
  • “Auditors also noted the lack of clear direction and oversight, saying they were ‘unable to identify clear expectations of the division to provide supplies and equipment to shelters.’ They also questioned the wisdom of the state relying on vendors to supply water after a disaster, instead of ordering it and stockpiling it in advance.”
  • This was not the first time auditors warned of deficiencies and sloppy record keeping. In a January 2014 audit, the agency’s inspector general found ‘the Division had not established written policies and procedures specifically governing the management of the disaster supplies and equipment warehoused at the SLRC.’”
  • “Auditors made a similar complaint a year later when a February 2015 audit of inventory found no documentation of some supplies and, when items went missing, the division did not consistently report it ‘or file reports with the appropriate law enforcement agency.’”
  • “Another audit, completed June 28, 2017, found inadequate oversight of a program that allows DEM to hire temporary employees to aid in recovery efforts… Auditors found that some reservists trained but never showed up when called to duty. Others ‘lost equipment and had equipment destroyed’ and were never held accountable.”

Read the full article here.

CBS Miami: Enterprise Florida Gives Raises, Ditches Bonuses
October 6, 2017

Key Points:

  • “Florida’s business-recruitment agency -Enterprise Florida – is doing away with a controversial bonus program but giving some raises.”
  • “The raises — retroactive to July 1 — range from $3,000 to $25,000 and will increase payroll by $118,000 for the year, under the plan outlined for the committee.”
  • “The pay increases are seen by committee members as a way to maintain Enterprise Florida without causing an exodus of employees. The public-private agency has faced heavy scrutiny during the past year, with House leaders even seeking to eliminate it.”
  • “In a memo Thursday to the committee, Enterprise Florida President and CEO Pete Antonacci explained that while the bonus program has worked, it has also been a source of criticism.”
  • “Last October, Enterprise Florida handed out $448,662 in bonuses to 57 employees. In 2015, with up to $765,000 in bonuses being offered, then-President Bill Johnson received $50,000, half of what he could have received, despite being on the job for just six months. A year earlier, the Enterprise Florida board approved a $120,000 bonus to then-President Gray Swoope, surpassing a $100,000 cap, while also approving $765,000 in bonuses.”

Read the full article here.

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