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Routing Public Corruption in Florida?

This article ran in the March/April
print issue of PA TIMES. Email Editor Christine McCrehin at
[email protected] to find out how to subscribe to the paper.

Donald C. Menzel

In February 2010 a Grand Jury was impaneled by former Governor Charlie Crist to investigate public corruption. In mid-December 2010 the Grand Jury delivered its First Interim Report. Here are the key provisions:

  • Public officials who violate the state’s ethics laws should be subject to criminal sanctions. Do you agree or disagree?
  • The definition of a “public servant” should be made more inclusive to cover any officer, manager, or employee of a nongovernmental entity, private corporation, quasi-public entity or anyone authorized by law or contract to perform a governmental function or provide a service on behalf of the state, county, municipal, or special district. Do you agree or disagree?

The current definition of a public servant is regarded as too narrow and therefore makes it impossible for an unethical act by a person who has responsibility for carrying out a public service to be subject to state ethics laws. A few examples–a for-profit corporation was accused of mismanaging federal funds it received from a nonprofit organization that had contracted with a department of state government. The company received government funds to perform a public service, but their excesses were immune to prosecution because they were not public servants.

A second example involved a suspect who worked for a private nonprofit corporation being paid cash to falsify the completion of community service hours by a probationer. A third example involved the privatization of social service home inspections. Home inspectors, paid by taxpayer dollars, falsified records about conducting home visits.
Source: For more details download the full report.
Accessed February 1, 2011.

ASPA member Donald C. Menzel is president of Ethics Management International and a former ASPA president. Email: [email protected]

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