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Privatization in the Sunlight in FLA

June 28, 2012

the Miami Herald reports that Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, is taking steps to make sure that the $47 billion in private contracts issued by the State of Florida are thoroughly vetted… not by regulators or elected officials, but by the 19 million people who live in Florida.

This is an interesting twist to regulatory oversight… one that on first blush seems eminently reasonable but with some reflection raises a lot of questions. First, WHO in the public is equipped to review a bid for services like the provision of technology services to a large enterprise like, say, the State Board of Education?  And who in the public is capable of understanding some of the state of the art legal terminology included in contracts? Who in the public has the TIME to review all of these contracts? And last, but not least, who does the public report their concerns to and how can a member of the public be confident their concerns have been addressed? As state, local and federal governments eliminate regulators and replace them with “citizen auditors” these questions need to be asked and answered in advance.

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