A lobbyist plays for time -- and wins
Florida prison boss Jim McDonough wants to get into the ring sooner rather than later with PRIDE, the private firm that he says does a poor job of finding jobs for inmates. The corrections secretary thought he had Dec. 13 nailed down for a hearing before Tampa Sen. Victor Crist's Senate committee -- but that was before PRIDE lobbyist Guy Spearman went to work.
After seeing a St. Petersburg Times story about the hearing, Spearman told Crist of planned rotator cuff surgery and of PRIDE counsel Wilbur Brewton's planned holiday trip to Thailand to see his daughter (read Spearman's letter here). "Victor this is NOT a delay tactic," Spearman wrote. "This is a scheduling conflict for the two people that have the most personal knowledge and the longest time with PRIDE."
Crist said the fair way was to wait until January, and that he would have done the same if the state asked. "I trust Chairman Crist's judgment on this matter," McDonough said. "It does seem odd, however, to request a postponement because two lobbyists are out of town. I'm prepared to speak for myself. I would expect PRIDE can do the same."