Sink orders review of plane use as more details emerge
Chief Financial Alex Sink has ordered her office to ''conduct a thorough and immediate review'' of her use of the state plane after questions were raised about whether the plane was being used strictly for official duties.
Meanwhile, the Herald/Times review of state plane records reveal more details about how they use the plane. The Herald/Times review found that of the 44 times Sink diverted the plane to bring her to Tampa in the past 2 ½ years, she had official events scheduled in the same city 30 of those days. Attorney General Bill McCollum used the plane less frequently. Of the 53 times the plane flew to Sanford for McCollum -- Sanford is the closest airport to his home -- he only occasionally had events scheduled in the area.
State law prohibits state officials whose office is in Tallahassee from commuting from outside the capital and Sink and McCollum have said they only travel to their hometowns if it's on the way to and from official business. Read the full story here and here's Steve Bousquet's column about the story behind the story.
Below is a snapshot of several of the flights in which Sink and McCollum diverted the state plane to pick them up or drop them off at the airports closest to their homes.
Sink's diverted flights, when she did not have official business:
1. Thursday, May 17, 2007, Sink and three staff travel from Tallahassee to Orlando for a Division of Consumer Services meeting. They spend five hours there and travel to Venice for a present on unclaimed property and then travel to Tampa where they drop Sink off and then continue to Tallahassee. Cost of the Tampa diversion: $207
2. Monday, Aug. 13, 2007, three staffers travel from Tallahassee to Tampa, they pick up Sink and travel to Orlando for a speech at a worker compensation law conference. They all return to Tallahassee. The cost of the Tampa diversion: $248
3. Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2008 five of Sink’s staff traveled from Tallahassee to Boca Raton for personal breakfasts and meetings all morning. Sink has lunch with Sen. Ted Deutch and then arrived at the Israel Bonds reception and dinner. The plan travels to Tampa with five passengers and Bill McBride. They then drop McBride off and continued on to Tallahassee. The total cost of the flight was $8383; cost of the diversion to Tampa was $700.
4. Friday, June 13, 2008 Ben Diamond traveled from Tallahassee to Tampa to pick up Sink. They go to Kissimmee for a speech for the FAIA. The plane returned home empty. The cost of the trip to Tampa: $248
5. Friday, July 25, 2008 Sink and four staff traveled to West Palm Beach, they stopped in Tampa to drop off Sink and Bob Diamond and then the flight returned to Tallahassee. The cost of the Tampa diversion: $309
6. Monday, Dec. 1, 2008 Sink sends empty plane to from Tallahassee to Tampa to pick her up, she and a staffer go to Orlando to speak at the FDIC event and they return to Tallahassee; cost of Tampa diversion: $922
7. Jan. 9, 2009 – Sink goes to Miami to WPB with 7 staffers, they spend 5 hours there and then the plane goes to Tampa where Bill McBride gets on and they go to Tallahassee; the cost of the Tampa diversion: $2,721
8. Jan. 30, 2009, Sink traveled from Tallahassee to Naples, traveled by car to Fort Myers and the plane pick her and three staff in Fort Myers; they dropped Sink off in Tampa and continued to Tallahassee. The cost of the Tampa diversion: $2305
9. Wednesday, May 6, 2009, Sink and two staff traveled from Tallahassee to Sarasota, they spent four hours and then went to Tampa where Sink got off and the staff returned to Tallahassee. She went to a personal day in Washington, D.C. and the next official event was Friday morning in Clearwater. The cost of the Tampa diversion: $300
10. Thursday, June 18, 2009, four staff traveled from Tallahassee to Tampa to pick Sink up and then they traveled to Kissimmee; the cost of the Tampa leg: $450
11. Monday June 22, 2009 one staffer flew from Tallahassee to Tampa to pick up Sink, then flew to Orlando for a Homeland Security event; they both flew back to Tallahassee; cost of the Tampa diversion: $450
McCollum's diverted flights when he did not have official business:
1. Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007, a state plane went to Sanford to get McCollum, who attended funerals in the Panhandle for two murder victims: the wife of a sheriff and a sheriff's deputy. After the funerals, the plane flew McCollum back home to Sanford and the empty plane flew back to Tallahassee. The extra cost of flying from Tallahassee to Sanford and back for McCollum: $1,950, according to state flight records.
2. Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, McCollum had a two-day trip that brought him from Tallahasee to Jacksonville and West Palm Beach and brought him back to Sanford. The cost of the Sanford diversion: $660
3. Monday, Sept. 10, 2007 McCollum had a planed pick him up in Sanford and they traveled to Naples and returned to Tallahassee. The cost of the Sanford diversion: $390
4. Thursday, April 26, 2007, McCollum traveled from Tallahassee to Palm Beach Gardens, then the plane brings him to Sanford. The cost of the diversion: $482
5. Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, McCollum traveled from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale, was dropped off in Sanford and the plane returned to Tallahassee. The cost of the diversion: $165
6. Friday, May 16, 2008, McCollum traveled from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale and on the return flight had the plane stop in Sanford. Cost of the diversion: $330
7. Wednesday, May 21, 2008, McCollum’s staff traveled from Tallahassee to Sanford to pick him up, they traveled to Key West and then all returned to Tallahassee. The cost of the Sanford diversion: $330.
8. Thursday, May 29, 2008 McCollum traveled from Tallahassee to Vero Beach and was dropped off in Orlando and the plane returned empty to Tallahassee. The cost of the Orlando diversion is $1,072.
9. Friday, June 20, 2008, McCollum had a plane fly from Tallahassee to Sanford and then fly to Tampa and then return him to Sanford with the empty plane returning to Tallahassee. Cost of the Sanford leg: $330
10. Monday, July 21, 2008, Two of McCollum’s staffers traveled from Tallahassee to Sanford to pick him up and then they traveled to Fort Myers and St. Petersburg and then returned to Tallahassee. The cost of the Sanford diversion: $922
11. Wedneday, Nov. 5, 2008, McCollum has plane pick him up from Tallahassee to Sanford and he travels to Miami and West Palm for two days and returns to Sanford. The cost of the Sanford leg is: $4,920