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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Precourt in mix for Orlando toll road job, but new ethics law could nix it

18

September

Well that didn’t take long.

SB 2 was dubbed the most “comprehensive ethics reform package since 1976” when it was signed into law with widespread support from lawmakers earlier this year.

The centerpiece of the far-ranging 64-page bill was a new provision prohibiting lawmakers from taking a job with another public agency and another one that banned lawmakers from lobbying the governor’s office and executive branch agencies for two years after they leave office (lawmakers were already banned from lobbying the legislative branch). The intent was to prevent lawmakers from using their positions for their own private gain.

So just four months after Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law, a lawmaker is up for a job that, if he takes it, would appear to be a major violation of the law.

According to The Orlando Sentinel, Rep. Stephen Precourt, R-Orlando, is being mentioned as a possible replacement for Max Crumit, who is resigning from his job as executive director of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority on Oct. 1. Crumit was forced out on Aug. 28 when the board voted 3-2 to oust him, a move that is still raising questions.

This wouldn’t be the first time Precourt, 52, was mentioned as a possible director of the agency, which is currently overseeing a $1 billion construction campaign. A professional transportation engineer, Precourt was considered in 2011 for the job. But he had another conflict at the time. He was a principal in an Orlando engineering firm Dyer, Riddle, Mills & Precourt, now known as DRMP Inc., and still had financial ties to the firm. DRMP has gotten $10.5 million worth of contracts from the authority from 2008 to 2011.

Are these just rumors? If so, why do they keep popping up? Precourt couldn’t be reached.

Precourt was elected to the Florida House in 2006. Term limits will force him to leave office next year. He served one year as Majority Leader for Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, but was replaced in late July by incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island.

Weatherford said he hasn’t heard from Precourt about his plans.

“I am planning on him being here through next year unless he tells me otherwise,” Weatherford said. “So far, I haven’t heard anything.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 11:19am]

    

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