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CEO of Enterprise Florida gets hefty pay increase at the expense of taxpayers

Gray Swope, President and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Enterprise Florida Inc.’s mission is to “[D]iversify Florida’s economy and create better-paying jobs for its citizens by supporting, attracting and helping to create globally competitive businesses in innovative, high-growth industries.”

According to Integrity Florida, The Tea Party Network, Americans for Prosperity – Florida and Progress Florida, the biggest better-paying job created for the next two years is that of Commerce Secretary and the President and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. Gray Swope. Swope will now receive a base salary of $275,000 with a tier two incentive of $100,000. Additionally, Swope was given a two year contract with a severance (golden parachute) of  $137,500 if he is fired without cause by the Board of Directors. So who is on the board? Powerful business interests, Governor Scott, CFO Jeff Atwater, AG Pam Bondi, Secretary of State Ken Detzner and state Senator Nancy Detert.

Among the powerful business executives is Alex Glenn representing Duke Energy. WDW – FL reported that the Florida Public Service Commission recently voted 4 to 1 in favor of a settlement agreement that would make Duke Energy’s Florida customers pay $3.2 billion for the the broken Crystal River and the proposed-then-canceled Levy County nuclear power plants.

In a joint statement from Integrity Florida, The Tea Party Network, Americans for Prosperity – Florida and Progress Florida regarding the new Enterprise Florida contract for Commerce Secretary Gray Swoope (see page 17):

The culture of cronyism at Enterprise Florida where corporations buy their seats at the table and get taxpayer-funded deals in return is abhorred across the political spectrum. The pay raise is the board’s way to thank the commerce secretary for picking their companies for so many vendor contracts and subsidy deals. It is fiscally irresponsible for any state official to get a two-year contract and golden parachute near the end of a governor’s term.

Why did the board decide now was the right time for an exorbitant pay increase with more than 600,000 Floridians still looking for jobs? Most Florida employers who are creating private sector jobs are doing so without subsidies from taxpayers. Florida needs to work to build a business environment where every employer matters, not just the connected.

It is more interesting that Florida is considering legislation to create “Benefit Corporations”. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have passed Benefit Corporation legislation. There is a move to pass Benefit Corporation legislation in Florida.

According to the BenefitCorp.net website, “Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business…Business, the most powerful man-made force on the planet, must create value for society, not just shareholders…Over 600 businesses have already joined our community, encouraging all companies to compete not just to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world. As a result of our collective success, individuals and communities will enjoy greater economic opportunity, society will address its most challenging environmental problems, and more people will find fulfillment by bringing their whole selves to work.”

It may be that success may be defined as a seat at the government table in Florida?


Dr. Richard Swier

Dr. Rich Swier is Publisher of www.DrRichSwier e-Magazine. Twitter: @drrichswier He holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, a Master's Degree in Management Information Systems from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Richard is a 23-year Army veteran who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1990. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his years of service.

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Categories: Budget and Finance, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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