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House proposes new reporting for city commissioners

February 14th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

City commissioners in more than half the 400 cities in the state may soon have to provide residents much more financial information before they run and after they are elected. Commissioners in cities with budgets of more than 5 million annually will be subject to greater reporting requirements.

Tampa’s annual budget is 906 million, In Pensacola, its 217 million, and in Ft. Myers it’s

334 million, yet none of the commissioners who build and vote on those budgets file as complete a financial disclosure form as required of the mayors in each of the cities.

“I wold like to call to order the meeting of the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee” said Chairman Larry Metz..

Now a House committee, pushed by the Speaker, wants to strengthen financial reporting requirements to the same level required of state officials and mayors. the plan calls for more disclosure by commissioners approving budgets of five million or more,

“That captures about 200 cities int eh state of Florida, out of over 400” Metz told members.

The vote was unanimous. We asked Ethics Commission Executive Director Virlindia Doss to explain the difference between whats now required and that could be required.

‘Form one is a statement of financial interests. it is a less detailed, less invasive, form. The form 6  is the more detailed, full and public disclosure thats called for by the constitution” says Doss.

The Committee chairman says the idea is to give the public more information.

“And it could create the need for further inquiry as to why peoples net worth’s ar going up, why they are getting income from certain individuals they were’n’t getting before” say Metz.

Under the current law, the Ethics Commission can’t look into the disclosure forms to see if they are accurate. They can only look if someone files a complaint.

Metz says a pro active Ethics commission may have to wait for another day.

The legislation also sets up a statewide lobbyist registration database for anyone lobbying local governments for a fee.

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