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Governor to keep $5 million Transparency 2.0 on the shelf and seek bids

A budget tracking web site paid for by Florida taxpayers but never made public will remain on the shelf as Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that he will seek bids to create a public budget watchdog site and the vendors of the existing system can get in line with everyone else.

“We have decided to begin a competitive procurement process to contract with a company that best demonstrates their ability to publish web-based, user-friendly budget data at the lowest cost to taxpayers,’’ said Melissa Sellers, communications director for the governor.

The Florida Senate paid $5 million to Spider Data Services to develop Transparency 2.0 for use by the Senate and its staff to monitor the budget, state contracts and personnel services. Although the system was ready to launch in November 2011, it was never unveiled.

A Herald/Times review of Transparency 2.0 shows that, unlike other transparency web sites maintained by the legislature, the governor’s office or the chief financial officer, Transparency 2.0 allows for comprehensive and easy data searching for every line item in the budget. The system supplies planning and budget documents, and audit reports as well as contract information and links to personnel expenses.

It also shows which contracts were inserted into the budget by legislative leadership, offers a comprehensive look at billions of dollars in outside contracts and allows for the public to track budget data that today is controlled by agency and legislative staff.

The governor’s office has not ruled out the possibility that Transparency 2.0 may be the platform for the governor’s web site because Spider Data Services will be allowed to compete with other bidders, Sellers said. The bid process will be open to the public “while also ensuring we save as much taxpayer money as possible” and will begin in the new year, she said. There is no date for its scheduled completion. Story here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/14/3142680/gov-scott-calls-for-bids-to-build.html#storylink=cpy


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Randall McMurphy

What this means is that there is incriminating information to be found using the existing software so the GOP wants the time to "clean it up," and possibly bid it out to GOP "friends" for ultimately a poorer product but one that protects the GOP.


As a bright former business executive Gov. Scott should have used the situation to negotiated lower and reasonable annual license fees for the existing system (we already paid for) with the current vendor. The alternative if they balked would be to put the job out to bid. Most vendors want a certain, if low income stream, rather than to compete with other, bigger companies.

In the mean time, the system should have been opened to the public (and to potential competitors) so we, the people, get access to what our money has already bought. That would also have forced the current vendor to make major price concessions.

Maybe this was tried, and if so, the press should say tell us. If it wasn't, it was a failure by the Gov.'s office to use sound business practices.


given the other transparency systems that are already in place, its not clear that this system was needed in the first place. the governor is right to shelve it and rebid. in government, ethics matter. even if a few, are in positions that allow them to break the rules, this no excuse to keep this thing running.

the integrity florida and first amendment foundation report whitewash the real issue at hand - one of potential ethics and procurement violations. while advocating for transparency, their report identifies minor problems in current transparency systems that can be easily corrected.

A multi-million dollar state system is required to be bid - pure and simple. Not doing this put the senate in the position of authorizing a large contract through highly questionable business practices.

although the governor has accepted the resignation of one of those responsible for this contract, the other continues to work in state government.

all parties to this contract and those responsible for the no-bid procurement should be thoroughly investigated, not only by the state ethics commission, but by a non-state law enforcement agency to ensure that the investigation is thorough and unbiased.


We paid for it....put it up for 30 days!


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