IT’S YOUR MONEY:
There are many ways government officials, employees, and outside contractors COST FLORIDA TAXPAYERS through loss of HONEST SERVICES! What a message it sends when:
The Governor or members of the Cabinet approve actions of public sector agencies against private citizens at the same time frequently claiming they do NOT have authority to prosecute government officials, employees, or contractors engaged in similar misconduct. Excuses to avoid enforcing laws that apply to the public sector represent breaches of the PUBLIC TRUST, and are a cost to taxpayers.
The Ethics Commission accepts complaints related to alleged direct economic interests or relationships, but avoids prosecution of other breaches of PUBLIC TRUST. Situational ethics create appearances of intentional cover-ups as if a government position is a reward rather than intended responsibility.
Certain regulators adopt positions subservient to or regularly mingle with regulatees, eroding or erasing lines of their authority. Members of the same families, while sometimes employed in different offices, may be assigned to work together. Actual or appearances of conflicts of interest risk breach the PUBLIC TRUST whenever public sector abuses of power, waste, and negligence are overlooked or condoned
Any number of state agency or local department heads arrive late for work or leave early all the while being paid for full days of work. Some, although at their desks, may spend substantial time engaging in personal interests. That kind of breach of PUBLIC TRUST wastes public funds.
And there is so much more.
IT’S YOUR GOVERNMENT:
One reason why misconduct seems to occur with impunity is because Florida does NOT have a malfeasance statute to address the many breaches of public trust by anyone in any position at any level of government. Other states do address malfeasance. In fact the West Virginia Supreme Court is considered the source of this definition:
Malfeasance is the doing of an act which an officer had no legal right to do at all and that when an officer, through ignorance, inattention, or malice, does that which they have no legal right to do at all, or acts without any authority whatsoever, or exceeds, ignores, or abuses their powers, they are guilty of malfeasance.
It’s a substantial cost when taxpayers do NOT get honest services from everyone at any level of government. In the private sector, such conduct is considered fraud, and THEN the state will prosecute – going after private citizens. But when anyone in government acts improperly, other than involvement of alleged direct economic interests or relationship – those costs to taxpayers are ignored. YET THAT’S THE REAL ECONOMIC CRIME!
To honestly say Florida has real ethical standards, the Legislature must adopt laws that completely define MALFEASANCE and create enforcement mechanisms to PENALIZE ALL BREACHES OF PUBLIC TRUST.
IT’S YOUR RIGHT:
State authority, including who should define malfeasance, starts with the Senate Committee on Ethics & Elections and the House Ethics & Elections Subcommittee. Prosecution of the Ethics laws begins with The Ethics Commission.
Representative Kathleen Passidomo is the chair of the House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee. Call her at (850) 717-5106 or (239) 417-6200 or email email@example.com.
Attorney Morgan Bentley is the chair of the Florida Ethics Commission. Call him at (941) 556-9037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell them to ADOPT A MALFEASANCE STATUTE and ENFORCE IT!