Florida juvenile justice chief Frank Peterman's extensive travel at taxpayer expense includes thousands of dollars in extra charges because of missed flights as well as $2,300 in airport parking costs called "excessive" in an ongoing state review.
The inspector general's investigation was ordered by Gov. Charlie Crist after a Times/Herald report in November showed that Peterman spent $44,000 on travel over 21 months, about half of it for flights between Tallahassee and Tampa. The inquiry, expected to be completed next week, also shows:
• Peterman, who maintains a second office in St. Petersburg with a secretary, approved $26,000 in renovations to the office shortly after he took over the Department of Juvenile Justice in February 2008.
• Even though his family home is in St. Petersburg, he charged the state $785 for five hotel nights and a rental car at two Tampa conferences, and has paid to park cars in Tampa and Tallahassee for round-trip flights.
• On at least 18 occasions, he has changed flight times at an average cost to the state of $100 each. Shamika Baker, Peterman's executive assistant, says he overslept and missed some flights, but he says she's "misinformed." (Story here)