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Cruel irony alert.

Rick Scott, "The Jobs Governor" has just outsourced the job of branding Florida's public/private organization devoted to statewide economic development to a market research firm in......Tennessee.

You read that correctly. An agency that markets Florida to businesses and ergo, creates jobs, will give the jobs of marketing and researching Florida to another state instead of giving the job to those who live and therefore "know" Florida, and could probably use the work.

Eight Florida firms applied for the six-figure contract to brand Enterprise Florida, and four were selected among five finalists. In the end, contract went to Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies. Only a small share of marketing will go to On Ideas Inc., a firm located in Jacksonville.

From The Tampa Bay Business Journal:

Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies will “uncover Florida’s business brand” and “express the identity we want the world to see as it pertains to business,” Melissa Medley, chief marketing officer for Enterprise Florida, wrote in an Oct. 12 email.

North Star produced a tourism branding campaign called “Find Your True South” for the Mississippi Development Authority in February 2011.

Gray Swoope, head of Enterprise Florida, was running the Mississippi agency at the time. Gov. Rick Scott announced Swoope’s recruitment to Florida a few weeks later.

So Rick Scott "created" one job by recruiting Swoope, who is now sending the jobs of marketing Florida to another state entirely.

Because Tennessee is just like Florida, in that it's located in the south. Or because "someone knows someone?"

“We did consider Florida companies,” Doyle [Stuart Doyle, spokesman for Enterprise Florida] said. “We had to look at the needs and hire who we thought can best fulfill that. Because the scope was so large, we hired two companies.”

North Star was awarded a $205,000 contract in June.

On Ideas also was selected to develop a media plan to market the state. The Jacksonville firm proposed an $180,000 contract, but the amount hasn’t been finalized, Doyle said.

The contract was not advertised on Florida’s Vendor Bid System, an online repository of state contract opportunities. It also sends email notices to companies that sign up for the service.

“Enterprise Florida may want to consider using the state’s official procurement process,” said Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, a nonpartisan government watchdog in Tallahassee. “There are many Florida-based companies that are qualified to do this work and our state leaders should be sure they have a fair opportunity to compete.”

Enterprise Florida receives state tax funding and private donations. Gov. Scott and a 62-member board of corporate investors, plus additional at-large, ex-officio and appointed members, oversee the organization.

Yes, the agency that receives taxpayer funding is now outsourcing jobs that should go to Floridians.

Nice work if you can get it. But you can't. So say Rick Scott and Gray Swoope, head of Enterprise Florida.

And while we're on the subject of outsourcing, Florida license plates are about to get a makeover, but Florida may be outsourcing distribution of those new tags through the Internet rather than through tax collectors as they do now, thanks to Scott's proposed Department of Motor Vehicles’s privatization plan, which Scott and his cabinet will be voting on that next week.

Another non-existent problem that may give way to creating plenty of new ones:

Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon joined some of her colleagues in Tallahassee on Wednesday to voice their concerns about the Department of Motor Vehicles’s privatization plan, saying it could create problems for drivers who will then blame local officials.

Gannon said the counties do just fine mailing those out – and if something goes wrong they, as elected officials, are accountable to their local residents.

The tax collectors fear drivers may have trouble getting a live person at a private company to speak with them. And they point out problems the state has had with past privatization efforts.

“We don’t think this is broke,” Gannon said.

Here we go again: Taking a process that's working fine away from a government
agency, creating the potential for complications down the road at the expense of taxpayers, all in the name of privatization.

Another reason why the Republican Party mantra of "running government like a business" is such a bad idea when it's actually implemented.


Cross posted at Beach Peanuts

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