Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Better World; State Employees Honored for Good Work

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Better World; State Employees Honored for Good Work

Article excerpt

Jacksonville and Florida TaxWatch have a proud history together.

An annual illustration of this joint commitment to efficient government is the Prudential Productivity Awards.

The awards were founded in 1989 thanks to local Winn-Dixie founders J.E and A.D. Davis.

Prudential locally has been the title sponsor since 1998.

The awards allow the outstanding employees of state government a chance to be honored, the ones who often do their work outside the headlines.

Since 1998, state employees have produced $9 billion in cost saving ideas.

Here are some of the notable awards.

Complaints about permitting time are as constant as the weather.

The Northeast District Air Permitting Section of the Department of Environmental Protection cut average time from 42 days to 27.5 days.

The district office assumed the permitting duties from Duval County without having to increase staffing.

The Department of Financial Services is designed to save money for taxpayers, and Vanecia Swindle is a perfect example. The investigation manager and her squad of five crime investigators increased case productivity by 45 percent over the previous fiscal year.

In total, the group produced 103 criminal cases, $705,000 identified as fraud in public assistance programs with savings projected at $247,000.

At the Department of Children and Families, it is essential to protect the citizens being served. Lily Leduc uncovered a scheme to defraud owners of group foster homes that serve disabled people.

Congratulations to these outstanding public servants.

STATE IN GOOD FISCAL HEALTH

Florida ranks No. 4 in the nation in fiscal health, according to George Mason University.

Why does Florida earn such a high mark? It's because the state is:

- No. 2 in cash solvency.

- No. 4 in service-level solvency.

- No. 5 in budget solvency.

- No. 11 in trust fund solvency.

And the only poor ranking, No. 31 in long-run solvency, is a reference to having a cushion from economic shocks and long-term fiscal hits.

The top two states in the ranking, Alaska and North Dakota, are benefiting from energy revenues. Meanwhile, our neighbor - Georgia - came in at No. 26.

The states that are lagging in fiscal health tend to have large pension debt.

Illinois, one of the bad actors, used pension income to pay current obligations.

That is a formula for disaster.

Florida's chief financial officer, Jeff Atwater, outlined Florida's fiscal strengths.

His department makes sure there is enough cash on hand to pay bills while keeping the maximum amount invested.

Investment performance has been so good that local governments and universities are now asking the state to invest their money for them.

Debt is down, reduced by more than $4 billion in the last four years. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.