Read Jeff Lt. Gov. Kottkamp's letter requesting state trooper for trip to Italy

This is the text of a letter sent from Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp to Julie Jones, director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

November 5, 2010

Director Julie Jones

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Neil Kirkman Building

2900 Apalachee Parkway

Tallahassee, FL 32399-055

This will serve as a follow-up to our telephone conversation on Thursday, November 4th regarding security for my upcoming trip to Italy. As you know, I will be traveling to Italy next week. While in Rome I have meetings with high level executives in the business community including Ing.Gian Rodolfo Bertoli (Vice President UIR) and Giancarlo Pelosi (Director of IACCSE) to discuss economic development and investment opportunities in Florida. I have similar meetings planned in Umbria with Gian Luigi Angelantoni, the President of Centro Estero Umbria as well as Antonio Alunni the President of Umbria Aerospace Companies. Considering the current economic climate I'm sure you would agree that any effort to increase trade and bring more jobs to Florida is important.

As you know, Chapter 321.04(3), Florida Statutes states "The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall assign one patrol officer to the office of the Governor." For nearly 40 years the Office of the Governor has charged the Florida Highway Patrol to use this position to provide security and transportation for the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Florida. This is a full-time job. Commenting on the Lt.Governor's security detail, FHP Spokesmen Col. Ernesto Duarte told one newspaper that the law is clear: "We go where he goes and we take our mission very seriously." The Florida Highway patrol has handled the mission with great professionalism.

As you also probably know, the Department of State has issues a Worldwide Caution due to the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens have been reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

Recent events have increased the department of State's concerns about the continued threat of terrorist attacks and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and to the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.

Due to these serious ongoing security threats, and the responsibility of the Florida Highway Patrol to provide security and transportation to the Lieutenant Governor, I'm sure you would agree that the attendance on the trip to Italy of the FHP Trooper responsible for my security, Captain Alan Compton, is necessary.

During our telephone conversation you told me that the Governor's office had denied approval for Captain Compton to provide security for the trip to Italy. You specifically stated that this decision was made by the Governor's Chief of Staff Shane Strum. That is not accurate. I confirmed with Shane Strum that the Governor's office did not deny approval for Captain Compton. In fact, I have personally spoken to the Governor about the trip.

Accordingly, you should immediately complete any actions and paperwork necessary to assist Captain Compton in carrying out his responsibilities by 5 p.m. today.

Sincerely,

Jeff Kottkamp

*****

Here is the response Jones sent to Kottkamp on the same day, Nov. 5:

Dear Lieutenant Governor Kottkamp:

The resources from the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to you by the authority of the Office of the Governor are at the pleasure of the Governor. You are correct that the Florida Highway Patrol provides an employee to assist you with security issues and transportation. Our responsibility to the Lieutenant Governor is taken very seriously and is provided as a part of the Lieutenant Governor’s official duties.

During these challenging, economic times we are compelled to make difficult decisions. I consulted directly with Deputy Chief of Staff Chuck Drago in the Governor’s office in September, prior to denying the travel, and as of this morning I have no additional information from the Governor’s office to lead me to another conclusion. Given the personal nature of this trip and limited business application, I am compelled to refuse your request. I do not do this lightly. I have consulted with all four cabinet agencies and there is concurrence that this expenditure is not a wise use of the state’s resources.

Sincerely,
Julie Jones
Executive Director

Read Jeff Lt. Gov. Kottkamp's letter requesting state trooper for trip to Italy 11/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 8:29pm]

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