Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Financial woes force think tank named after Gov. LeRoy Collins to close

TALLAHASSEE — The Collins Center for Public Policy, one of the state's most well-respected think tanks, announced Thursday that it is closing its doors after 25 years.

A roller-coaster period of growth, followed by recession-induced decline over the last two years, led to a financial fall from which the organization, named after former Gov. LeRoy Collins, could not recover.

"The center has been the standard-bearer for the legacy of former Gov. LeRoy Collins and his vision for a better Florida,'' said Parker Thomson, a Miami lawyer who served as the board's chairman, in a statement Thursday.

For years, the center was called upon to craft solutions to difficult policy challenges, Thomson said. It became the "conscience of Florida" on issues as diverse as ethics and election reforms, racial and ethnic discrimination, public safety, the environment, natural disasters, education, constitutional amendments and smart growth.

In the last election cycle, the center became a go-to source of nonpartisan information on the lengthy list of constitutional amendments on the ballot.

In recent years, the center offered services in foreclosure mediation, launching a program to provide financial counseling and mediation services in six of the 18 judicial districts. During that time, the center increased its staff 62 percent to meet the need and to draw mediation revenue from Fannie Mae.

"Those changes, however, were not nearly offset by grant revenue,'' the center said in a press release Thursday.

Financial problems deepened when Miami-Dade County canceled its foreclosure mediation contract with the center and a robo-signing scam triggered cancelation of the judicial mediation program altogether. The center's revenues dropped from $15.4 million in 2010 to $9.5 million in 2011 and its net revenues declined from $4.3 million to a loss of $4.2 million by July 2011.

Financial woes force think tank named after Gov. LeRoy Collins to close 01/31/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 9:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida woman weighing 325 pounds charged with killing girl by sitting on her

    Crime

    PENSACOLA — A 325-pound (150-kilogram) Florida woman is charged with killing her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment.

    This Oct. 14, 2017 photo made available by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, Fla., shows Veronica Green Posey under arrest. Posey is charged with killing her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment. Posey, who weighs 325 pounds, first punished the girl with a ruler and metal pipe before sitting on her for at least 10 minutes. [Escambia County Sheriff's Office via AP]
  2. Girl, 8, got on 'tippy toes' to peer over cruise ship railing, then fell to her death

    Accidents

    MIAMI — A family cruise to paradise turned into a nightmare on Saturday, when an 8-year-old tumbled over the inner railings of a ship and fell to her death.

    Friends and family mourn Zion Smith, the 8-year-old girl who fell to her death aboard a Carnival cruise in Miami this weekend. [Image from Facebook]
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Looking back at what went wrong

    Bucs

    In his latest Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman says Monday brought good news relating to Jameis Winston's shoulder injury.

    A frustrated Mike Evans sits on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Arizona. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Syrian commander says Raqqa has been captured from militants

    World

    BEIRUT — U.S.-backed Syrian forces liberated the city of Raqqa on Tuesday from Islamic State militants, a senior commander said, in a major defeat for the collapsing extremist group that had proclaimed it to be the capital of its "caliphate."

    This frame grab from video released Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 and provided by Furat FM, a Syrian Kurdish activist-run media group, shows Syrian Islamic State group fighters who surrendered entering a base of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in Raqqa, Syria. A spokesman for the SDF in Syria says it will be in control of the northern city of Raqqa "within a few days" after attacking the last pocket held by the Islamic State group. SDF fighters launched an operation to retake the last IS-held pocket of Raqqa after some 275 militants and their family members surrendered. [Furat FM via AP]
  5. Drug czar nominee Marino withdraws name amid report he weakened DEA

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his nominee to be the nation's drug czar is withdrawing from consideration for the job.

    U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., left, sponsored the law that weakened the DEA's enforcement abilities. Seen with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in 2015, Marino is nominated to be the nation's drug czar. [Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg]