Gov. Rick Scott’s Next Colossal Underhanded Move
First, there was his spectacularly failed plan to drug test the poor.
Next, his inability to do anything meaningful to fix Florida’s economy.
We have him pissing off Republican lawmakers (you heard that right) when he signed a bill that prohibits governments from contracting with companies that have business ties to Cuba and Syria, which is a good thing, but then immediately turned around and said it was unenforceable because it conflicted with federal law.
There was also that no-bid consulting contract worth $360,000 that he steered to a friend who now leads a task force rooting out state government waste.
He wouldn’t even pee in a cup when the Daily Show asked him so nicely.
But the latest on the list of our crook Governor’s agenda is a $5.5 million no-bid contract to put the Senate’s budget data online. The governor’s chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, used his Senate clout to sign a contract for a web-based budget system developed by the business partner of a friend.
TALLAHASSEE — When the Florida Senate was looking for someone to put its budget data online, it set aside $5.5 million and turned to the business partner of a close friend of the Senate’s chief of staff at the time, Steve MacNamara.
The developer of the program, Anna Jo Mattson, owns a software company with Tallahassee lawyer and lobbyist Jim Eaton, MacNamara’s long-time friend. She also owns Spider Data Services, the company that developed the software program licensed by the Senate. She said Tuesday the companies are not related.
MacNamara did not respond to requests for comment.
MacNamara negotiated the contract with Mattson in February when he worked for Senate President Mike Haridopolos. He left the Senate to become Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff in July. To date, Mattson has been paid $5 million for development of the no-bid project. Another $2.5 million has been set aside in the governor’s 2012-13 budget to pay for access to her patented program next year.
‘What we’ve got is state of the art in terms of budget transparency programs,” said Craig Meyer, who succeeded MacNamara as Senate chief of staff.
He said making the state’s budget process more openly accessible was Haridopolos’ priority after a grand jury accused former House Speaker Ray Sansom of misusing the process. He said the no-bid contract was needed because only Mattson had the patent to her unique program.
‘It didn’t come together as quick as we hoped so we could roll it out’ during Haridopolos’ term, he said.
When launched, the program will provide the public and budget analysts the ability to drill down into detailed levels of the budget and pull out employees, contracts and vendors associated with each line item, Meyer said.
The money came from the Senate’s $9.2 million Information Technology discretionary budget in 2010-11. That same pot of money allowed MacNamara to hire Abraham Uccello as a consultant for the Senate’s web-based technologies.
The two computer projects are not related, Meyer said.
Neither of the projects, however, were put out for bid and both were given to people closely associated with MacNamara.