We found today that Florida Gov. Scott has issued an Executive Order 12-10 "Review of Special Districts" which assigns his Office of Policy & Budget (OPB) to perform an “examination” of ALL 1600 Florida special districts. The Executive Order is HERE. FiscalRangers.com will publish another article later this week on just this Executive Order after I interview some people. HERE is the press release on this OPB assignment.
The press release and the EO are similar to the earlier one establishing a Commission to Review Hospital Districts. Last year I sent that commission numerous emails and articles about oversight weaknesses in not only Hospital Districts but other Florida Districts. They just recently issued their final report of recommendations, including a number I agree with.
As our readers know, FiscalRangers.com has published numerous articles on weaknesses and problems in the various types of special districts, including CRA’s,
But, this is not a Commission to STUDY the issue, but a task order to the OPB to start a program to “Examine” ALL 1600 districts in Florida for performance, etc. The objectives are in the EO and shortened versions are in the press release. These are not the routine CPA type financial audits performed for most district financial statements, but much broader scope reviews to determine efficiency, justification, etc.
This policy means that in Lake County, there will be performance and oversight reviews of our special districts including the two Hospital Districts, the water districts (Lake County as well as the St. John’s River Water Management District), CRAs (Community Redevelopment Associations) and other districts.
I tried calling the OPB today before realizing all government offices are closed because it is the MLK holiday. I will post another longer article on the blog by Wednesday or Thursday, and have more details, because to review 1600 agencies, they will stretch it out over several years and may be constrained by budget and staffing limits.
Finally, the State of Florida is taking oversight seriously over special districts. And, FiscalRangers intends to be supplying information and ideas to the team conducting the examinations. I am going to encourage that public hearings be part of the process for the examiners to receive feedback from the public on the justification and operations of the districts. I expect many Districts to whine and complain, and they should get first priority.
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