Paula Dockery’s column June 27 (“Independence for government watchdogs on the way,” Other Views) is a great explanation of HB 1385 and the reasons it has been enacted.
I think the majority of citizens would agree the inspectors general should be independent of the departments they are inspecting. This has not been true in the past. Dockery’s examples of past abuses make clear why the citizens of Florida will benefit from this bill.
Getting this type bill through the Legislature is not an easy task — Dockery noted her and Mike Fasano’s inability to get this type legislation passed in prior years. I liked her comment about the reason for her failure to get this legislation through: “The appetite for ethics reform was nonexistent.” This too often is the case in our government. We owe a special indebtedness to those, like Dockery and Fasano, who support correcting these wrongs.
I was a little disappointed that Dockery did not give state Rep. Dan Raulerson of Plant City credit for sponsoring this bill and his determined efforts to get it passed. Dan would be the first to say, “Credit is not important. The important thing is the bill got passed and signed by the governor.”
Being Dan’s proud parent and having sat with him in several meetings — as well as he and I discussing this bill alone — I know the passion he had for this issue and the efforts he put forth to get it passed. Being a CPA, he knows the importance of auditors being independent. Under the current system, the inspectors general serve at the pleasure of the department heads. Not a good system.
Certainly, Dan did not do this by himself. He had meetings with, and the support of, House Speaker Will Weatherford, Sen. Jack Latvala (chairman of the ethics committee), Gov. Rick Scott and many more. The important thing is, it got passed, signed and will become law. Maybe we’re seeing an appetite for ethics reform. We look forward to continuing to read Dockery’s fine columns.