Editorial: Accountability for state contracts, grants necessary

This week is Sunshine Week, which makes it an ideal time to reiterate the importance of open government and why my office is diligently working to improve government transparency and accountability. Since taking office, I have been committed to building upon Florida’s Sunshine Law and seeking new ways to promote openness.

I am proud to be a citizen of a state that has a long history of holding transparency and accountability in the highest regard. Florida’s Public Records Law was created nearly 100 years ago, in 1909. Nearly 60 years later, Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was created, and it wasn’t long afterward that former Gov. Reubin Askew advocated for the Sunshine Amendment, a 1976 ethics law that required elected officials to disclose personal finances. But despite these steps and several others being taken to make Florida more transparent, there was no system in place to track our state’s contracts and grants when I became Chief Financial Officer. There was also no way to account for the number of contracts and grants or to know the role they played in the state budget.

I knew that if we were to run a state efficiently and at the lowest costs possible to Florida’s taxpayers, the lack of information and accountability for our contracts was unacceptable. Therefore, to close this loophole in Florida’s transparency, I created the Florida Accountability Contract Tracking System (FACTS). As a result of FACTS, we are able to now know exactly how many contracts the state has and their impact on Florida’s budget. Continue>>>