Gov. Rick Scott takes aim at spending by domestic violence group
For the past decade, Florida law has required that tax money to aid victims of domestic violence be controlled by a single group.
But Gov. Rick Scott wants to end the relationship after his office discovered the group's president is paid more than $300,000 a year.
When Scott signed the new state budget, which includes $31 million for domestic violence programs, he told the Legislature he wants the law changed so that future money won't be steered directly to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"I do not believe it is appropriate to designate in statute a specific private entity as the recipient of state funds," Scott wrote in signing HB 7093, extending the state's alliance with the nonprofit coalition. "Such a practice restricts the competitive procurement process."
Scott's decision to target the coalition — which gives money, training, oversight and advocacy to 42 shelters — is a case study of how Tallahassee works.
The efficiency-minded Scott looks for cases of questionable spending, and Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, was eager to comply.
Bennett had copies of the coalition's Form 990 IRS filings that show president Tiffany Carr drew a salary of $316,104 in 2009, the latest filing available, plus $36,158 in benefits. That's three times what many state agency heads earn.
Bennett is a vocal critic of high salaries and member of a government efficiency task force, and his wife Dee is a board member of a Sarasota shelter. He gave the tax forms to Scott's chief of staff, Steve MacNamara.
"I delivered the merchandise," Bennett said. "I was so p - - - ed off when I saw the salary Tiffany Carr was making. It's absolutely stone-a - - insane."