Broward News

Aronberg Derails Gravy Train for State Contractors

Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres has convinced the Florida Department of Transportation to abandon its practice of awarding automatic annual raises to private contractors, and now the Florida attorney general candidate is going after other state agencies.

As Juice reported a few weeks ago, "escalation clauses" are a boom-era fad that should have gone out of fashion during the bust years, especially when the state was freezing salaries of its own employees -- the ones it hadn't already laid off.

But those clauses have stuck around, no doubt because the contractors' lobbyists were paying closer attention than the Legislature's budget-cutters. So Aronberg intends to work his way down the row: Next stop is the Department of Environmental Protection, which also has escalation clauses to reward private contractors.

And though Aronberg has found an issue that will be worth boasting about on the campaign trail, he's also made some powerful enemies in the contracting business. Republican AG candidate Jeff Kottkamp will be glad to have their campaign donations. And Democrat Dan Gelber, the Aronberg frenemy also seeking the job, will be awfully tempted.

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Thomas Francis