In the past three years, at least three senior executives at Citizens Property Insurance who were in charge of multimillion-dollar contracts awarded to private companies went to work months later for those same companies.
Florida’s ethics laws ban state employees from going to work for a company for two years if their duties for the state job involved a contract related to that company. But Citizens, the state-run insurer of last resort, reads the statute more narrowly. Its executives say no one has done anything wrong.
Critics, however, say the situation is evidence of a revolving-door mentality at the public company that handles millions of dollars in contracts each year, and add that it raises serious questions about the fiscal management of the company, whose claims will be paid by taxpayers if Citizens runs out of money after a storm.
“Every dollar you don’t spend is a dollar that goes to pay somebody’s claim,” said Sean Shaw, the former Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate from 2008-10. “They should have a moral compass that says, ‘This is taxpayer money. We are going to be as careful as we should with our own pocketbook.’ ”
The head of the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, Sen. David Simmons, is calling for the ethics law to be tightened relating to Citizens’ contracts and has ordered Senate staff members to draft legislation to do that.