It could be a well-timed move to make him look like a crime-fighting hero (it comes conveniently at the very same time that he's running for state attorney general), but regardless, it's pretty cool that State Sen. Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres) is taking public officials to task for letting private contractors get automatic salary increases from taxpayer funds while workaday employees are being laid off and facing pay cuts.
Using a tactic usually wielded by journalists, Aronberg has requested public records that would allow him to see certain state government contracts that have so-called "escalation clauses" including automatic salary increases for private contractors. He has also asked for information on how those salaries compare with public employees' pay.
In a smackdown letter he wrote to the head to the Department of Environmental Protection, Michael W. Sole, Aronberg wrote: "It is troubling that state agencies have routinely increased the salaries of private contractors despite the Legislature's repeated policy decision to freeze the salaries of state workers... I am also concerned that there seems to be no central, public information source to determine the basis of fees paid to contractors and how adjustments to consultant contracts are determined and awarded."
Aronberg added, "This leads me to question how rampant this practice is among all state agencies, not just the Florida Department of Environmental Protection." Last week, he sent a similar letter to the Department of Transportation.
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Aronberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment.