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Legislature's budget includes requirement for Constitution Commission to vote on Beruff's hires

CRC Don Gaetz 51717

Members of the Constitution Revision Commission Wednesday agreed to follow a new directive from the Florida Legislature that the panel adopt a detailed budget, get approval of two-thirds of the membership for the budget, and require commission Chair Carlos Beruff to get approval before hiring employees. 

The Legislature allocated $2 million to pay expenses of the 37-member board which is expected to meet for the next year in its quest to propose constitutional amendments to the November 2018 ballot and included in the allocation proviso language that set some guidelines. 

At the recommendation of Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, appointed to the board by Senate President Joe Negron, the CRC's Rule Committee on Wednesday agreed to follow the requirements in the proviso if the budget becomes law. Beruff, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to head the commission, has hired three people to staff the commission so far -- all of whom have worked for Scott: Jeff Woodburn, executive director, William N. Spicola, general counsel, and Meredith Beatrice, director of external affairs. 

The CRC's Rules Committee is meeting today to discuss its controversial rules and after a morning discussion the fault lines are clear: the Legislature's faction is not quite on board with the governor's. 

Here's the proviso inserted into the budget by the Legislature: 

        FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND  . . . . .        2,000,000

   From  the  funds in Specific Appropriation 1986A, $2,000,000 is provided
   to  fund  the Constitution Revision Commission. No other state funds may
   be  used to pay for expenses of the commission. Funds expended from this
   appropriation  for travel and per diem may not exceed the rates provided
   in  s. 112.061 F.S. The commission shall adopt a detailed budget for the
   2017-2018  fiscal  year  which must be approved by 2/3 of the members of
   the  commission.  Unless  otherwise  provided  in  rules  adopted by the
   commission, a majority of the members of the commission must approve the
   hiring of employees of the commission.