JLAC Sides with IDA

Feb 26, 2013

Hardee County’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) was granted the opportunity to present to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC). The Committee's responsibilities are designed to provide continuous oversight of government operations, in part, through the auditing and review activities of the Auditor General. At the February 18th hearing the JLAC favored with the IDA’s interpretation of statute 159.

Recent reports have speculated that the IDA broke Florida Statute 159, based on the Auditor General’s inter-pretation. After the Auditor General’s office presented their first finding, that the IDA may have broken statute 159, Senator Bradley, who is board certified by Florida Bar as expert in city, county and local government law stated, “When you start throwing grenades into the middle of the mix by putting out there in the public sphere that they’ve (IDA) done something that’s not consistent with law, that takes it to a whole other level.” Addressing the Auditor General’s Counsel Senator Bradley continued, “I have a quarrel with how your office handled this but that’s just one senator talking.”

Representative Ray who serves as the Joint Legislative Auditing Comm-ittee co-chair echoed Senator Bradley’s remark to the Auditor General and added, “You need to be really careful with what you’re trying to do. I don’t think that’s what you’re charged to do in terms of interpretation.” Representa-tive Ray continued to address the Auditor General’s counsel by stating, “But I don’t think that’s the purview that we’re to be getting into. I think that it’s a very slippery slope particularly when you’re putting public officials in the cross hairs of public opinion being driven by something that doesn’t appear to be consistent, that at best is your interpretations.”

Hardee County IDA will continue to concentrate on growing and diversifying our economy. Senator Hays noted the hard work of the IDA in his remark, “These small counties are doing about everything they can do to improve the economic life of their counties and I think they should be commended for it as long as they’re staying within the intent of the law and how, in this particular case, I totally agree the liberal instruction here in 159.53 sort of says to the (Auditor General’s) office, ‘back off a little bit guys’ Senator Hay’s dismisses the Auditor General’s finding by saying  “But I don’t think there’s any fire where we see some smoke.”

The Hardee County IDA appreciates all of the letters of support they received in preparation for the Tallahassee trip. In 24 hours the IDA collected over 140 letters of support from 21 current elected officials including four out of five county commissioners, school board members, constitutional officers and municipal elected officials. As well as former elected officials, current appointed and volunteer citizens, business owners and concerned citizens.

The IDA will move forward with consideration of both the Auditor General’s and the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee’s recommenda-tions. Together Hardee County will build the most prosperous future for Hardee County.

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