Sansom's job exposes wider pattern
By taking a six-figure job at a state college, House Speaker Ray Sansom has focused attention on a pattern of behavior that has gone on largely unchecked for decades in Florida's higher education system.
Even in a time of bleak finances, with curbs on enrollment and spikes in tuition, at least 18 other current or recently retired legislators are employed or draw income throughout the system — six at the University of South Florida alone, as well as the wife of a state senator.
All schools rely heavily on legislative clout for their yearly appropriations, as Sansom, R-Destin, proved by securing $35-million for Northwest Florida State College in the past two years. Yet lawmakers and colleges stoutly deny there's an inherent conflict of interest in having college employees sitting on committees that oversee higher education funding and policy. (story here)