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Cronyism, parties at 'work'force boards

Florida's two dozen regional workforce boards are in for a rude awakening as a result of wasteful spending and allegations of cronyism by a couple of the local boards.

"They're breaking the law ... It's unconscionable," said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, chairman of a budget committee that oversees the boards and the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI). Fasano praised AWI for helping blow the whistle on the abusive conduct by workforce boards in Tampa Bay and Polk counties.

Much of the outrage was a response to disclosures by the AWI inspector general's office about free-spending board members opening the public checkbook for meals, hotels and other events. 

Fasano's committee on Thursday discussed proposed legislation (SB 1646) that would prevent regional workforce board members from having contracts with their board; require the chairman of each board to be subject to Senate confirmation; and require the hiring of each regional workforce board executive director to be approved by local elected officials (usually county commissioners). 

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