S T A T E O F F L O R I D A
FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMISSION
The above agencies came to be heard before
MARY ALLEN NEEL
ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.
Representing the Florida Cabinet:
* * *
I N D E X
ITEM ACTION PAGE
1 Approved 5
ITEM ACTION PAGE
1 Approved 23
ITEM ACTION PAGE
1 Approved 29
1 Approved 44
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE INTERNAL
ITEM ACTION PAGE
1 Approved 49
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: Financial Services
3 Commission. Kevin?
4 MR. McCARTY: Good morning, Governor.
5 CFO GALLAGHER: I'll move the minutes from
6 August 12th.
7 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion and a
9 second. Without objection, Item 1 passes.
10 Mr. Saxon, welcome.
11 CFO GALLAGHER: Welcome.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Item 2.
13 MR. McCARTY: Is the adoption of amendments
14 to Rules 3E-200.001, 3E-300.002, 3E-600.012
15 through 3E-600.015, and 3E-600.021, Florida
16 Administrative Code. The amendments update
17 references to federal statutes and rules or
18 independent self-regulatory organizations.
19 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on Item 2.
20 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
22 Without objection, the item passes.
23 MR. McCARTY: Next is the adoption of
24 amendments to Rule 3E-600.005. The amendment
25 changes the references to Certified Financial
2 status as trademarks.
3 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 3.
4 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
6 Without objection, the item passes.
7 Item 4.
8 CFO GALLAGHER: That's your update.
9 MR. SAXON: Good morning, Governor and
10 members of the Cabinet. This is the first
11 opportunity I have had to be before you, and as
12 such, it's the first opportunity I've had to
13 publicly thank you for the appointment you've
14 made of me as the Director of the Office of
15 Financial Regulation. I'm honored by your
16 support and the opportunity you've given me to
17 be of public service and working before the
19 I understand and I recognize that this is a
20 tremendous opportunity for me as an individual.
21 I also recognize the importance of this to the
22 State of Florida as the regulator for our
23 financial services. I look forward to working
24 with you and the Commission, and I'm certainly
25 here to serve you at any time as the needs that
2 The Office of Financial Regulation is
3 dedicated to safeguarding the financial
4 interests of the public and serving those
5 financial services to the industries that we
6 serve. Those entities within our purview
7 include banks, credit unions, nondepository
8 financial institutions, security brokers, money
9 transmitters, check cashers, and deferred
11 Currently we have 197 banks chartered in
12 the State of Florida. We have 106 credit
13 unions. We have 49 international banking
14 offices and 17 trust companies. We have 50,000
15 nondepository financial institutions, those
16 being your mortgage brokers, your consumer
17 finance companies, and your retail installment
18 loan lenders. We also have 200,000 licensed
19 stockbrokers in the State of Florida. To put
20 that in perspective, that represents about 30
21 percent of all licensed stockbrokers in the
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: In the country?
24 MR. SAXON: In the country, yes, sir.
25 CFO GALLAGHER: Thirty 30 percent?
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: That has nothing to do with
3 our retirement population. Wow.
4 MR. SAXON: We also have 5,800 licensed
5 dealers and investment advisors in the State of
6 Florida, and we also have 85 branch offices,
7 which are like satellite offices, if you will,
8 of the major wirehouses out of New York,
9 California, and the Midwest. And we also have
10 28,000 check cashers, money transmitters, and
11 deferred presenters.
12 I've gone back and looked at the history
13 of the office for some 10 years, and what I've
14 found is that since 1996, we have received 117
15 new applications for state-chartered
16 institutions in the State of Florida. At the
17 same time, we've had 14 credit union conversions
18 submitted since 1996. Those conversions have
19 resulted in 5.5 billion more assets to those
20 institutions chartered by our office.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: When you say conversions,
22 Don, that's from federal to a state charter? Is
23 that --
24 MR. SAXON: That's where they acquire other
25 institutions and consolidate.
2 CFO GALLAGHER: What you've had is, you've
3 had an advantage of being a state institution in
4 regards to what is considered for a credit union
5 its membership availability. Am I right?
6 MR. SAXON: Yes, sir.
7 CFO GALLAGHER: So they can -- it's easier
8 for a state-licensed credit union to attract
9 membership that's outside a specific group,
10 whereas the federals are very specific on -- you
11 have to be a member of the group.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Like the Navy or the --
13 CFO GALLAGHER: Right, or state employees,
14 or whatever it can be, work for a certain
16 MR. SAXON: Since 1998, banks have grown
17 from 167 in the State of Florida to the 196.
18 While our credit unions were 115 in 1998 and we
19 only have 106 now, primarily because of the
20 conversions, as I had mentioned, their assets
21 have grown about threefold. For '90 -- in 1998,
22 they had $5 billion in assets. Today they have
23 $15 billion. Our bank assets have gone since
24 1998 from 38 billion to $45 billion. And if you
25 include our international banking offices, the
2 is $55 billion.
3 CFO GALLAGHER: That's with a B; right?
4 MR. SAXON: That's with a B. I think
5 that's a thousand million.
6 CFO GALLAGHER: Thousand million.
7 MR. SAXON: The history of growth in
8 securities and finance has also been
9 significant. In 1998, we had 156,000 licensed
10 stockbrokers in the country. As I mentioned
11 before, we now have over 200,000. Our dealers
12 have gone from just over 3,000 in 1998, where
13 today we have almost 4,000 broker-dealers
14 operating. Branches have gone from 4,000, as I
15 mentioned before, to 8,500 today. And our
16 investment advisors, these are people who
17 provide guidance to people as to the value of
18 securities and whether they should buy or sell
19 securities. Those offices have gone from 2,300
20 in '98 to 3,700 today. Finance companies is no
21 different. In 1998, we had 20,000 such
22 companies. Today we have over 50,000.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: 50,000?
24 MR. SAXON: 50,000, yes, sir.
25 GOVERNOR BUSH: Finance companies, those
2 MR. SAXON: Mortgage brokers, consumer
3 finance, retail installment lending.
4 To put that in perspective, three years
5 ago, the normal processing of a mortgage broker
6 application ran about 300 a month. Today we're
7 processing on average 1,800 a month.
8 Just a couple of initiatives of the
9 office. And I should probably say first on the
10 national side, I think there should be a close
11 connection between financial consumers and state
12 capitols, that it is vital to the strength of
13 the nation's financials markets. The ability of
14 states to regulate banking, credit unions,
15 finance companies, and securities allows this
16 Commission, allows state legislatures, it allows
17 local governments to meet the needs of local
18 economies and to respond to the concerns of
19 citizens. But we can only achieve this by
20 preserving the integrity of the dual banking
21 system and allowing state regulators to enforce
22 security regulations as they deem appropriate.
23 I only mention this because there have been
24 a number of initiatives at the federal level to
25 preempt some of the operations that we have as
3 I've had several meetings already with our
4 congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. I'm
5 very thankful that they've been supportive. In
6 fact, on two occasions already, they've
7 championed our cause and have gone to the
8 leadership of the Congress to delay, or at least
9 to hopefully make some changes in how regulation
10 will be done between states and the federal
12 CFO GALLAGHER: Don, I think it's
13 interesting to note that with the tremendous
14 amount of consolidation that has taken place on
15 a national level in banking -- and it has
16 certainly affected Florida. So many banks that
17 were Florida banks became national banks and are
18 part of a very few large, large national
19 institutions. Even with that happening and
20 taking all their branches with them, we end up
21 having more banks now because of our dual system
22 and because of the opportunity for local
23 entrepreneurs to start their own banks.
24 MR. SAXON: Yes.
25 CFO GALLAGHER: And to let the federal
2 hurt our economy and hurt the ability for the
3 citizens of Florida to start small businesses in
4 the banking area. So keep working them up
6 MR. SAXON: Locally, just a few of the
7 things that we're doing. Obviously, first of
8 all, we've been working diligently developing an
9 administrative staff, if you will. And I want
10 to thank the Governor for your support during
11 the last legislative session in providing us
12 some additional positions to do that. We now
13 have an inspector general. We have a
14 legislative director. We have just hired a
15 consumer advocate to help do some publications
16 and so forth for our office, and we have hired a
17 general counsel. And again, I certainly
18 appreciate your support on that.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: The consumer advocate is
20 for public relations, or is it for being able
21 to -- when people e-mail me with complaints, can
22 I --
23 GENERAL CRIST: Send them to you.
24 GOVERNOR BUSH: This issue, the broker
25 issue is one -- mortgage brokers and securities
2 get your views before the start of the next
3 legislative session. If we have enough consumer
4 protection measures in our statutes to protect
5 people -- I mean, people get preyed upon in our
6 state because of the fact that -- the reason we
7 have all those brokers is, we have people who
8 save, and they retire. And I've never gotten a
9 sense that we have the consumer protection tools
10 to protect people. And maybe I'm wrong, but I
11 think it's worthy of a review, given the volume
12 of increase in both the transactions and the
13 number of brokers.
14 MR. SAXON: What we're doing, we're going
15 to develop a number of outreach programs. One
16 of these will be for consumers. One of the
17 first responsibilities of this new person, if
18 you will, is, we would like to develop a website
19 where people can go to to get information about
20 how to make the right choices, things that they
21 should ask their brokers, things they should
22 think about, you know, things that they can do
23 to protect themselves. It's like no other
24 industry. We can't be there all the time, and
25 there's always going to be somebody out there
2 earnings and to take that money from them.
3 We believe that if we can get more out
4 front, if you will, and educate people about the
5 dos and don'ts of the industry and how they can
6 protect themselves, that would be much more of a
7 way of doing good regulation in the State of
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: How many brokers have lost
10 their license because of unethical activity or
11 illegal activity?
12 MR. SAXON: A lot of what we do is on the
13 front side in the way of licensing. I can tell
14 you in the last year, we have denied 600 people
15 who were seeking to be licensed because of their
17 On the criminal side, we had -- since
18 January, since this office came in to being,
19 we've had 43 criminal indictments. We have
20 issued 27 administrative complaints. We've
21 gotten court-ordered restitution of over $100
22 million, and we've gotten voluntary restitution
23 of $650,000.
24 The other outreach for us is going to be
25 with the industry itself. We think it's
2 think they need to know who we are and what we
3 do, and perhaps most importantly, why we do it.
4 We believe that early detection is important, so
5 we can interface with them, meet with them, when
6 we do our exams, have them have more of an
7 appreciation of what we do and what we're going
8 to be looking for. Those are the areas we'll
9 concentrate to make sure that they comply with
10 the appropriate rules and regulations in the
11 State of Florida.
12 We're also looking at disaster
13 preparedness. We've already had feedback from
14 seven banks who have agreed to on a 24-hour
15 basis, in the event of a natural disaster or
16 some other type of disaster, that they will have
17 mobile ATMs available within those vicinities so
18 that people have access to cash that they might
19 need to make, you know, whatever corrections or
20 the -- whatever their situation may be with
21 that particular disaster. And we're going to be
22 looking for other ways that the finance industry
23 can provide services in the time of need.
24 One of our other initiatives is automated
25 licensing. I can tell you that department-wide,
2 five years. At the same time, our staff has
3 gone down by 16 percent. The only way we can
4 meet the Administrative Procedures Act and make
5 sure we make the right decisions about who gets
6 licensed is through automation. We already have
7 automation for all of our security activities.
8 A lot of our activities in the finance area are
9 automated, but we are still working on that, and
10 we simply will need to do more automation to
11 make sure that we can meet the needs of the
13 Going back to enforcement and some of the
14 actions we've taken, I will also tell you that
15 we've been working very closely with Attorney
16 General Crist's office. Currently we have 18
17 cases that we're working collectively with the
18 Statewide Prosecutor, and we have a number of
19 cases that we're working directly with the
20 Attorney General's Office.
21 Commissioner Bronson, we're also working
22 with his office. We've received information
23 recently about some of the practices of
24 confrontation and threats being made against
25 people from collection agencies. It's my
2 reform in how that business is conducted, and so
3 we'll be looking to -- we've already met with
4 some of Commissioner Bronson's staff on this,
5 and we'll be moving forward with that with all
7 Finally, CFO Gallagher, obviously, because
8 of the connection with that Department, we've
9 been working very closely with them. And I want
10 to publicly thank the CFO for their support with
11 the HR services, the Public Affairs Office, and
12 encouraging us to look at best practices in the
13 way we can share information between the
14 insurance side and the securities and banking
15 side about licensing, consumer services, and the
16 sharing of enforcement data.
17 I think you can see from this that there is
18 an interaction between all of our respective
19 agencies, with the Attorney General, the CFO,
20 and the Agriculture Commissioner's office, and
21 we'll certainly do everything we can to work
22 with you all on all these different issues.
23 Legislation wise, we will being doing a
24 bill this year. That bill primarily will be a
25 bill to allow us to do more automation and to do
2 with our people.
3 As to the future, we will certainly
4 continue to carry out the initiatives that I've
5 laid out, and we'll look for other areas where
6 we think we need to do more.
7 Also, starting as of October 1, you'll
8 begin receiving a quarterly report from us. It
9 will be laid out with each functional area, be
10 it banking, nondepository institutions and
11 securities. I would encourage you, if you
12 could, to review it. If you have any comments,
13 if there's anything that you feel like you would
14 like to see in those reports, let me know, and
15 I'll make sure that we take care of that.
16 Finally, I want to tell you about what I
17 believe is a very big success for our office,
18 and I think it demonstrates what's good in
19 government and how it can be achieved.
20 Two years ago we were tasked through a bill
21 to develop a database to monitor the activities
22 of payday lenders, otherwise known as deferred
23 presentment. That system had to be a 24/7
24 operation. We were told we had to develop it
25 within eight months, and we were given no budget
2 able to develop the system at no cost to the
3 State, and we were able to actually get the
4 system up and running before the deadline.
5 What the system does is, every time
6 somebody goes into a convenience store where
7 they have check cashing or deferred presentment
8 activities, the vendor has to go into that
9 system and make sure that person doesn't already
10 have an outstanding transaction. And a payday
11 transaction is essentially where a person writes
12 a postdated check. The collateral for that
13 check will be their pay when it comes in in the
14 next seven days, if you will.
15 What we found is that many people were
16 going into one check cashing facility and doing
17 a deferred presentment transaction, going down
18 the street and doing another one, going down the
19 street and doing another one, to the point that
20 they were in a situation where financially they
21 would never be able to recover. This system
22 requires the vendors to go and make sure they
23 don't have any outstanding transactions, and
24 then there's a 24-hour period where they have to
25 delay before they can do another transaction.
2 MR. SAXON: I can tell you that not only
3 did we come in ahead of schedule, it didn't cost
4 the State any money. And going through the
5 normal procedures of outsourcing and doing an
6 RFP, we did find a vendor. And as of today,
7 they have processed nearly 3 million
8 transactions, and the system has created a
9 surplus of $1.4 million in transaction fee
10 assessments to the state of Florida. So we're
11 very pleased with that.
12 In closing, I would again like to thank
13 you for the opportunity of -- this Commission
14 for allowing me to serve as the Director for the
15 Office of Financial Regulation. And I'll leave
16 you with a quote from Franklin Roosevelt on
17 public speaking. He said, "Be sincere, be
18 direct, and be seated." So if you don't have
19 any other questions, I'll be seated.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Any questions?
21 Thank you very much.
22 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: Come back regularly.
24 I just said come back regularly.
25 MR. SAXON: Thank you. I will.
2 secret covert planned for you, Don. It's to go
3 undercover behind the scenes of the St. Pete
4 Times, since you look so much like Steve
5 Bousquet. He's right here. Find out what they
6 do when they get together and report back to
8 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, who would want to go
9 undercover as Steve Bousquet? I mean, I can
10 think of some things, but my goodness.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: I see some press kit
13 GENERAL CRIST: Mr. Bousquet will be
14 regulating the financial institutions of the
2 Affairs. Rocky.
3 MR. McPHERSON: Good morning.
4 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes.
5 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
7 Without objection, Item 1 passes.
8 Item 2.
9 MR. McPHERSON: Item 2 is our quarterly
10 report for the fourth quarter of fiscal year
11 2002-2003. There are no significant issues.
12 I would like to make one comment. In
13 January when I was born to this position, one of
14 the contentious issues was our progress on
15 census surveys in nursing homes. At that time
16 we were averaging about 83 percent at our
17 facilities, and the goal, of course, is 90. I
18 would like to report that on average basis, we
19 are now at 91 percent in the facilities. I
20 still have two that are 1 percent below 90,
21 but we're working hard on them, and I have one
22 at 95. So we have an average census in our
23 facilities, the four operating facilities, of 91
24 percent. And it's a goal that we worked hard to
25 reach, and our administrators did a great job.
2 Is there a motion on 2?
3 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on Item 2.
4 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
6 Without objection, the item passes.
7 MR. McPHERSON: Item 3, sir, is our CARES
8 update. I would like to just take a few minutes
9 to -- we recollect that last March, Dr. Headly,
10 who is the director of the Veterans' Network for
11 Florida, Division 8, made a presentation to the
12 Governor and the Cabinet regarding the CARES
13 planning process by which the VA will define
14 their building plans for the next 20 years. In
15 the period since that presentation in March, all
16 of the CARES programs from the 21 networks
17 around the nation have been rolled into a thing
18 called the National CARES Plan, which was
19 released about a month ago.
20 There is a 15-member Commission that has
21 been appointed by the Secretary of the VA to
22 review that plan, and they have held two
23 hearings that are relevant to Florida, August
24 the 26th in Biloxi, and Orlando on the 10th of
25 September, followed by a visit to VA medical
2 Thursday, the 11th of the September. And I'm
3 pleased to report that I was able to testify at
4 both of those hearings on behalf of Florida's
6 It is important to note that it brings
7 tremendous new resources in the plan to Florida,
8 a new hospital that we've all read about planned
9 for Orlando, two new bed towers in Gainesville
10 and Tampa, four new outpatient clinics at
11 various locations throughout the state, and
12 expansions of existing clinics in places of high
13 growth. So all of those things at the hearing
14 were well presented, and in fact the Commission
15 has a great understanding of the need that's
16 forecast for Florida for future VA facilities.
17 We do not anticipate any significant problems
18 with it.
19 We have two concerns that I would like to
20 mention that we will be conveying to the CARES
21 Commission. The first one is, their projections
22 to 2022 may be conservative. In fact, the need
23 in Florida, if growth rates continue or if we
24 have high growth rates in an area that were not
25 planned for, may in fact be greater than what
2 of that fact, we asked the Commission on behalf
3 of the Department and the State that they
4 conduct a regular annual review and a five-year
5 formal review to see how their plans are being
6 executed in light of what the actual movement in
7 our state happens to be. And that has generally
8 been accepted by the Commission as a good
9 suggestion, and it will probably be in their
11 The other issue is, the seven western
12 counties of Florida are in Division 16, which is
13 over in the Jackson, Mississippi, area. And
14 they support that due to distance from other
15 facilities. The arrangement to enhance services
16 in that area in Pensacola, Eglin, and Tyndall,
17 is to increase DOD and VA sharing. And while we
18 think that's a great idea, and at the Secretary
19 level and the national government, that concept
20 is supported, on the ground, it sometimes gets
21 harder, particularly when you realize that due
22 to the things that are happening in Florida,
23 such as all the new training ranges that have
24 come from Viequez and that are now being used,
25 more military coming into the Panhandle area, we
2 facilities. And in fact, that's going to
3 deserve significant attention and following, and
4 we will do that at the Department level with the
5 VA to ensure that the DOD participation in that
6 agreement in fact comes to fruition, or if it
7 doesn't, to look at alternative methods.
8 And those are the main comments. The plan
9 is on track. The Commission will finish --
10 they're about halfway through their public
11 hearings. They finish next month, go into about
12 a month's worth of analysis and review, and
13 write a report to the VA Secretary that's due to
14 him in December, and he intends to act on it by
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Rocky, any update on the
17 Lake City facility?
18 MR. McPHERSON: Yes, sir. The Lake -- when
19 the National CARES Plan came out, the issue of
20 the Lake City being combined with the
21 Gainesville area essentially has been resolved.
22 The 24 by 7 hospital level services will remain
23 intact at Lake City. The only minor adjustment
24 that is forecast to be made is that surgical
25 inpatient services, which only number about
2 Gainesville because of just getting a better --
3 it's a health care issue more than a placement
4 issue. The Lake City issue is relatively well
5 resolved. It's not a contentious item in front
6 of the committee. And as far as I know -- I
7 haven't talked to the mayor and the Chamber of
8 Commerce over there -- they're pleased with the
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Excellent. Thank you.
11 MR. McPHERSON: Yes, sir.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Any questions or comments?
13 Thank you.
14 MR. McPHERSON: Yes, sir. Thank you.
2 Safety and Motor Vehicles.
3 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes.
4 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: I'll second.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
6 Without objection, the item passes.
7 Item 2.
8 MR. DICKINSON: Item 2, Governor, is
9 submission of our 2002-2003 Annual Performance
10 Report. This basically tells everything for a
11 performance report -- contract, I'm sorry, from
12 last year. We had a decent year. Our death
13 rates on regular death rates and alcohol-related
14 were down, less than expected. We exceeded our
15 goals on seat belt performance.
16 But as you can see, there are a couple of
17 other areas we need to pay some attention to.
18 We've lost a number of troopers in the last
19 couple of years. In the first year, or first
20 three years of them coming to law enforcement,
21 we're only retaining 78 percent, so we've got a
22 22 percent loss there that we're trying to
23 address, and we do that in our budget request.
24 Our trooper response times are up a little
25 bit, and we're investigating substantially more
2 too long, and we're working on that.
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is there a motion?
4 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion on 2.
5 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Any
8 Without objection, the item passes.
9 MR. DICKINSON: Item 3 is our performance
10 report for the current year, and basically some
11 of the same performance standards established by
12 yourselves and the Legislature, and we're
13 proposing those.
14 CFO GALLAGHER: Item 3 is the performance
15 contract; right?
16 MR. DICKINSON: Yes, sir. I'm sorry.
17 Annual Performance Contract for the current
19 CFO GALLAGHER: Okay. I'll move it.
20 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
22 Without objection, the item passes.
23 MR. DICKINSON: Item 4 is the Department's
24 legislative budget request for 2004-2005. We
25 are requesting approximately a 5 percent
2 initiatives that only relate to personnel
3 regarding law enforcement and/or IT or
4 technology issues. The majority of our request
5 comes from recurring program activity, such as
6 driver license, trooper overtime, vehicles, and
8 And then we have a couple of budget issues
9 to help address areas where we feel some
10 deficiencies exist, and those were noted in our
11 performance report, trooper retention problems,
12 response times, and our driver license lines,
13 which we propose some DL technology enhancements
14 and an appointment system.
15 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Telephone
16 appointment system?
17 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 4.
18 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
19 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
20 Governor, also, I would like to mention
21 that some of the problems that Highway Safety is
22 experiencing we're also experiencing in the
23 Department of Agriculture's highly trained law
24 enforcement and firefighter group. We're
25 running into some of the same retention problems
2 may need to pretty much sit down and let some of
3 our staffs get together and figure out what we
4 can do to keep from losing some of these good
5 people that we have trained to do these specific
7 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, if you look, you're
8 going to see that the Florida Department of Law
9 Enforcement is asking for increases because
10 they're losing people to the Feds. As they get
11 their increases, we're losing all of our law
12 enforcement staff to FDLE. And it's a continual
13 movement on.
14 I don't know where it stops or what we do
15 about it. It's -- you know, we're all getting
16 this kind of turnover, and it's -- the Feds
17 expand and pay more than we do, and therefore,
18 FDLE pays more than the other law enforcement
19 areas do, and then as it filters down, you
20 know, people keep getting -- we train them, and
21 somebody ends up hiring them away. And it's a
22 very expensive -- I'm not sure it doesn't cost
23 us more to keep training them and getting new
24 people than it does to pay them more --
25 GOVERNOR BUSH: Sure it does.
2 we've got to look at the --
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: Most definitely.
4 CFO GALLAGHER: I don't think we can look
5 each one of these individually. I think we need
6 to sit down with all the law enforcement groups
7 that we have in the state and figure out some
8 kind of method by which we don't have the
9 continual turnover. And I don't have an answer,
10 but I think we need to look at them all instead
11 of break them down and do -- here's Highway
12 Safety's problem, here's FDLE's problem, here's
13 Fraud's problem, here's Agriculture's problem.
14 You know, they all need to be looked at.
15 MR. DICKINSON: And, Governor, we would be
16 glad to participate in that. Another issue is,
17 some of these locals, for instance, have gotten
18 pretty innovative, and they're including signing
19 bonuses to the law enforcement officers that
20 come over, which is something that we really
21 don't have and can't compete with. And quite
22 frankly, their salary structure is not decidedly
23 different initially. However, it increases over
24 the next year to five years substantially, and
25 that's really what these law enforcement
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: You have a compression
4 MR. DICKINSON: Yes, sir, we do have a --
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: It's not necessarily a
6 beginning pay issue. It's more advancement
7 going forward.
8 Any other discussion? I'm abstaining from
9 voting on this item in order to make my own
10 budget recommendation. All in favor of Item 4
11 say aye.
12 CFO GALLAGHER: Aye.
13 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Aye.
14 GENERAL CRIST: Aye.
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: All opposed? The motion
17 CFO GALLAGHER: Let me just mention, Fred,
18 before you go Item 6.
19 MR. DICKINSON: Yes, sir.
20 CFO GALLAGHER: I just wanted to
21 congratulate you and your employees on the
22 awards that you got at the Administrators --
23 Motor Vehicle Administrators conference. Three
24 of your people got awards, and maybe you want to
25 brag about them. You're one of them, of course,
2 MR. DICKINSON: Well, Lieutenant Colonel
3 Billy Dickson, who has been with the Department
4 for about 40 years, was given the national award
5 for the most revered public servant, and that
6 was refreshing. Billy is going to come back and
7 help us from time to time, but when he -- he
8 really left the patrol a couple of years ago and
9 came over under our office and has been working
10 hard nationally with identification and driver
11 license -- uniform driver license issues, and
12 has become quite well known for it. So we were
13 real pleased with that.
14 And the other two people, Pete Stoumbelis
15 and Diane Wood, were complimented on the DAVID
16 system that we implemented. And quite frankly,
17 without FDLE making some comments that they did
18 in the little request, we probably wouldn't have
19 gotten it. But the DAVID system, Governor and
20 Cabinet, is something that can immediately
21 electronically transfer all the data that we
22 have in our file, including the photograph, to
23 other law enforcement agencies for comparison.
24 It's one of the only systems like that in the
25 nation, and I think it's picking up real steam.
2 come to me in droves and said, "This is the
3 greatest thing we've seen since we've been in
4 law enforcement." So it has been a real help.
5 And as you well know, we have changed our
6 driver licensing procedure to when you come in,
7 particularly for a duplicate, but in really all
8 instances, the last known photograph on file
9 pops up to our driver license examiner, and they
10 have to actively do something to get on with
11 it. So there's a comparison that takes place,
12 and it has substantially cut down on fraud that
13 we have, primarily in the teenage ranks and the
14 young people that want to get a driver's license
15 that says over 21 that allows them in the bars.
16 But, of course, we're proud to see
17 everybody get recognized, but these people stood
18 up and said very clearly at the national
19 convention that it's a team effort, and
20 collectively with all the law enforcement agency
21 and the driver license agency -- agencies around
22 the nation. We're pleased for the recognition,
23 but we've got a long way to go.
24 Thank you.
25 CFO GALLAGHER: Thank you.
2 Item 5.
3 MR. DICKINSON: Item 5 is our --
4 CFO GALLAGHER: We're on 6.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: We just passed Item 4, the
7 CFO GALLAGHER: Oh, I'm sorry. You're
9 MR. DICKINSON: This is the Department's
10 2004 legislative package, and I know some of you
11 may have some comments on this. This basically
12 is the same thing that we asked you for approval
13 on last year, and it sailed through the
14 Legislature, both sides, until we got to crunch
15 time, and it did not make it in the regular
16 session, and we did not push it at all in any of
17 the subsequent sessions. We felt like you all,
18 or the Legislature had enough to do. But a
19 number of things --
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: A keen observer of the
21 political scene.
22 MR. DICKINSON: There are some items in
23 here, if I may, Governor. We want to put the
24 lessee's name on the registration to assist law
25 enforcement when they stop a leased car to
2 The lessor's name would be on the registration,
3 even though the owner would still be the -- I
4 mean the lessee's name, even though the owner
5 would still be the lessor. It also prevents
6 wrecker operators and wrecker liens that's got
7 multiple registrations -- if a car rental
8 company comes up and a lien pops up on one of
9 their cars, they can literally shut down the
10 entire registration for the ownership of every
11 vehicle in their fleet. So this will correct
13 We want to establish a temporary license
14 plate system to minimize fraud, and that would
15 be a web-based program. And I'll tell you,
16 there will be some car dealers that probably are
17 going to squawk and say, "We can't do that." We
18 will accommodate those that cannot -- that don't
19 have a computer. We're talking about a --
20 CFO GALLAGHER: A car dealer that doesn't
21 have a computer?
22 MR. DICKINSON: -- real easy web-based
23 application. But we've heard from a couple of
24 them --
25 CFO GALLAGHER: I want to see a car dealer
2 MR. DICKINSON: Well, I think primarily
3 it's the ones that really don't want to comply
4 with it, but we're going to seek 100 percent
5 compliance. This also will help law
7 We want to clarify the intent of the
8 Florida law with regard to the full face
9 photograph requirements that we were involved in
10 a lawsuit earlier this year we were successful
11 in. And I would like to take this opportunity
12 to thank Attorney General Crist and his staff.
13 They handled the lawsuit for us, an outstanding
14 job, and we won, which is important. But quite
15 frankly, it was a fairly fundamental issue, in
16 my mind, and we're glad the court saw it the
17 same way. But thank you, General, for the
18 assistance of your staff.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: It became urban legend,
20 you know, that we didn't -- that we weren't
21 giving out licenses for people that had their
22 face covered. Thank you, General, for winning
23 the case.
24 MR. DICKINSON: We got a lot of letters on
25 it too, didn't we, Governor?
2 MR. DICKINSON: In support.
3 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Governor, there is
4 one issue I would like to mention, and that is
5 -- and I know they're working on this, but the
6 commercial driver's exemption on the
8 Some of our law enforcement -- and
9 especially I think DOT has done a little of
10 this, and we're trying to work out these issues.
11 But some of our farmers who don't have to get a
12 CDL license because they're moving equipment
13 from one farm to another within a certain
14 radius, which is state law, have been stopped.
15 As a matter of fact, some of them have been
16 stopped and their equipment has been parked for
17 hours while they're trying to straighten out
18 whether they need a CDL or not.
19 So I'm hoping that we can finally get
20 through the system between DOT and back to
21 Highway Patrol and others what the law really
22 says, because some of these poor people are
23 having to kill a whole day while -- and being
24 threatened that they're going to be charged if
25 they move that equipment before they get a CDL
2 CFO GALLAGHER: What's a CDL?
3 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: It's a commercial
4 driver's license. And it's because of the
5 trailer size and so forth. Well, some of those
6 are exempt under the farming provisions of the
7 state law, and I think we need to get that
8 straight. We've got people really upset over
9 that. My office gets called quite regularly on
11 MR. DICKINSON: Governor, what the
12 Commissioner is referring to is a federal law
13 that requires everybody in a vehicle that's
14 toting anything that weighs more than 26,001
15 pounds or transports public people, public
16 transport, or hazardous materials, are required
17 to have a commercial driver's license.
18 There is an exemption for farmers that are
19 either hauling produce to and from their farm up
20 to 150 miles, and/or equipment. So we will work
21 with other law enforcement and make sure they're
22 aware of --
23 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: I think
24 clarification to those units would be, you know,
25 very well appreciated by those, because I hear
2 their people being stopped. And I think we need
3 to get it clarified that they don't have to have
4 a CDL.
5 MR. DICKINSON: Governor, I had to move a
6 tractor last night, for instance. A tire blew,
7 and I got to roll that tractor a lovely 15 miles
8 an hour down Highway 27 for about 12 miles.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: I'll bet you were a
10 popular guy, waiving as everybody was going by.
11 CFO GALLAGHER: Did you cover your face?
12 GENERAL CRIST: Didn't wear a shroud?
13 MR. DICKINSON: Didn't wear a shroud.
14 Those are the high spots of our
15 legislative package. As I said, it's basically
16 the same package you approved last year.
17 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is there a motion?
18 CFO GALLAGHER: Move 5.
19 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
21 Without objection, the item passes.
22 Item 6. Back to --
23 MR. DICKINSON: Now the item we've all
24 waited for, as usual.
25 CFO GALLAGHER: There's some new license
2 MR. DICKINSON: We have four license
3 plates, Nova University, Stop Child Abuse, Stop
4 Heart Disease, and the U.S. Paratroopers. This
5 raises our total to 81. Seven still to come for
6 this current year.
7 GOVERNOR BUSH: Looks good.
8 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 6.
9 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
11 Without objection, the item passes.
12 MR. DICKINSON: Thank you, Governor.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you, Fred.
3 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes.
4 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
6 Without objection, the item passes.
7 Item 2.
8 MR. McLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Governor. Item
9 2 is our Annual Performance Report for the last
10 fiscal year. If I may, a couple of comments.
11 We are proud to report that we achieved 95
12 percent in 37 of the 45 measures that we're held
13 accountable for. Those measures that we did not
14 achieve, we believe that if we look at those
15 closely, we'll see that they are issues that
16 were out of our control, things that we were
17 supposed to do that the numbers just didn't
18 appear. We're pleased with that.
19 We processed 76,367 records or packets of
20 evidence in our crime laboratory. That's the
21 most in our history. For the last three years,
22 we've not had any additions in personnel to the
23 laboratory system, so our folks are doing a
24 tremendous job there. We reduced our turnaround
25 time by 35 percent in seven of the nine
2 And, Governor and Cabinet, 87 percent of
3 all fingerprint cards are coming to us now
4 electronically from our booking agencies across
5 the state. Now, that is a real significant
6 public safety issue. I'll remind that you
7 within three minutes now, law enforcement is
8 getting a response from FDLE on these criminal
9 fingerprint cards that are submitted to us as to
10 who they're dealing with, and that's a very
11 significant issue for local agencies, and we're
12 pleased to have achieved that this last year.
13 We worked with other agencies on 3,300
14 missing children cases.
15 We have 51,000 customers on our FCIC system
16 now. We handled over 115 million transactions
17 per month last year on that system. It operates
18 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it cannot
19 go down, because that's the life blood of law
20 enforcement across the state.
21 And we were also able to keep $34 million
22 worth of fraudulent claims from being paid out
23 to folks who did not deserve it out of our
24 public assistance fraud area. And that's
25 another area that we're very pleased with.
2 processed and returned to the public 2.1 million
3 criminal history record requests. That's
4 400,000 more than we did the previous year. So
5 there's a significant interest in that, and we
6 have a tremendous responsibility to the public.
7 And, of course, we celebrated once again
8 the lowest crime rate in our history. That
9 takes good leaders, good policy, and outstanding
10 local law enforcement, and we're fortunate to
11 have that.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Any questions? Is there a
14 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion to approve.
15 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
17 Without objection, the item passes.
18 MR. McLAUGHLIN: Governor and members, the
19 next item is our Annual Performance Contract.
20 We're submitting this after consultation with
21 Sheriff Guy Tunnell, who is the incoming
22 Commissioner beginning on October the 1st. He
23 and I have talked extensively over this
24 contract. He understands where it comes from.
25 These have been measures that have been approved
2 Planning and Budget in the Governor's Office,
3 and so this will govern the agency for the
4 coming year.
5 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 3.
6 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
7 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
8 Without objection, the item passes.
9 MR. McLAUGHLIN: The final item, Item 4, is
10 our legislative budget request for 2004-2005.
11 Governor and members, it represents a 3.5
12 percent overall increase in our budget. We have
13 a $278 million budget. We're asking for about a
14 $9.8 million increase. These issues have also
15 been discussed at length with incoming
16 Commissioner Guy Tunnell, and he concurs with
17 each of these items. It is a strong
18 continuation budget, and we would request your
20 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 4.
21 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: Any discussion? There's a
23 motion and a second. I'm abstaining from voting
24 on this item in order to make my own budget
25 recommendations. Any discussion?
2 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Aye.
3 CFO GALLAGHER: Aye.
4 GENERAL CRIST: Aye.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: All opposed? The motion
7 Thank you, Daryl. Daryl, I want to thAnk
8 you for -- you and your team for the great
9 Missing Children's Day Memorial. It was very
10 moving and first rate in every way.
11 MR. McLAUGHLIN: Thank you, sir. We
12 appreciate that.
2 MR. STRUHS: Good morning. I would like
3 to --
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is there a motion on the
6 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion on one, on
7 the minutes.
8 CFO GALLAGHER: Second.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
10 Without objection, the item passes.
11 MR. STRUHS: Item 2 is your acceptance of
12 the Sixth Annual Status Report of the Florida
13 Keys National Marine Sanctuary. As you know,
14 this is something you do every year. Last year
15 was the fifth annual report, and we did a fairly
16 major presentation.
17 This year we're going to keep it fairly
18 brief, but we are fortunate to have Ann
19 McCarthy, who is Florida's new manager of the
20 Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, here
21 with us. She came up from the Keys. Billy
22 Causey, who is well known to all of you, he's
23 the federal partner. He's NOAA's superintendent
24 for the sanctuary. And our own Katherine
25 Andrews, who is the director of our Coastal and
2 you through some of the highlights of the report
3 that we're going to ask for you to approve.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: Let's do it. Good
6 MS. McCARTHY: Good morning. How are you
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good.
9 MS. McCARTHY: Good. I'm just going to
10 give you a few of the highlights that I've been
11 privy to being involved with over the last year.
12 First of all the Tortugas Ecological
13 Reserve, I'm really happy to say initial
14 indications are showing an increase in overall
15 fish populations out there, as well as more the
16 general acceptance and embracing of the Tortugas
17 Ecological Reserve. We're really proud of what
18 we've done out there for the State of Florida,
19 and I think it's going really well.
20 Again, the Western Sambos Ecological
21 Reserve, a very similar habitat, closer to
22 shore. I don't mean similar habitat. What I
23 mean is similar zoning. It's an ecological
24 reserve, and again we've seen an increase in the
25 percentage of overall commercially exploited
2 overall size of lobster have increased since
3 that reserve has been in effect. So we're
4 seeing some positive changes there.
5 We've done a lot of work with volunteers,
6 as we continue to do every year. In calendar
7 year 2002, I would like to say that we had over
8 12,400 volunteer hours recorded, which has saved
9 the state and federal government over $200,000
10 in labor hours dedicated to resource protection
11 of the Florida Keys. A new program specifically
12 called Reef Medics has been designed to help our
13 staff address our large volume of vessel
14 groundings that we get in the Florida Keys every
15 year. Those volunteers help us go out and look
16 at the sites and do some minor repairs that have
17 affected the coral reefs over the years. So
18 we're really happy that that has been
19 implemented and going well.
20 The delegated authority to Captain Andrews,
21 the Board delegated authority to Ms. Andrews to
22 be -- allow her to actually use Ecosystem
23 Management and Restoration Trust Fund money to
24 address some issues that we have that are
25 oftentimes in sort of an emergency situation.
2 address a derelict shrimping vessel that had
3 sunk out in the Tortugas and was sitting on a
4 reef, and we were able to go out there and
5 actually remove that vessel, the pressure off of
6 the reef. And we've been able to restore
7 several orphan grounding sites. It has given us
8 a mechanism to be able to go out and respond a
9 lot more quickly, so we thank you for that
10 delegated authority again.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Did that big old boat that
12 was supposed to go down near Key Largo, did that
13 ever get turned --
14 MS. McCARTHY: Speigel Grove?
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: -- right-side-up, or
16 whatever it was?
17 MS. McCARTHY: It's on its side now, yes.
18 Yes. We got a lot of attention on that.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: I mean, it hasn't been --
20 where it landed, where it sunk, it's still in
21 the same place? There's no way to -- that
22 wasn't the idea, was it?
23 MS. McCARTHY: The idea was actually to
24 have it sitting upright.
25 GOVERNOR BUSH: Upright. And that --
2 sitting upside-down in an inverted position.
3 The contracts -- we had contractors come out and
4 flip it where it's sitting on its side now.
5 It's not in the intended position that it was
6 initially supposed to be in. There's still a
7 lot of divers coming in to dive that particular
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: But that's a deep dive.
10 Instead of having --
11 MS. McCARTHY: It is a deep dive. It's not
12 something you would want to --
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: That's too bad.
14 MS. McCARTHY: -- snorkel. But, yes, the
15 artificial reef industry group really has
16 appreciated the State and the sanctuary for
17 allowing that vessel to be sunk. Unfortunately,
18 it didn't happen exactly the way they intended,
19 but they did their best to fix that situation.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: We're working on trying to
21 -- there are some derelict vessels that are in
22 the Miami River that are -- that's an
23 understatement. Is that what you're saying?
24 These are ones that actually no one -- either
25 some government entity owns it or no one wants
2 the bad guys, and we own the vessels. And we're
3 trying to work with our federal partners to
4 clean them up. So if you have any interest in
5 that -- there's a lot of demand for these
6 vessels, but if you're interested, we may have a
7 couple of them during this year.
8 MS. McCARTHY: Well, thank you, sir. We
9 have a lot of derelict vessels in the Keys as
10 well, but --
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: These are good --
12 MS. McCARTHY: Good ones.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good artificial reef. I'm
14 not talking about the little boats that --
15 MS. McCARTHY: I know the state and the --
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: -- people live on down
18 MS. McCARTHY: Yes, yes. I know the state
19 and the federal governments are both looking at
20 artificial reef policies, and it's something we
21 definitely need to look at and scrutinize over
22 time for sure.
23 A couple more things I just want to mention
24 real quick is our law enforcement partners. The
25 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which
2 Keys National Marine Sanctuary, is now running
3 at full capacity with 17 sanctuary enforcement
4 officers. They have done an outstanding job in
5 the Tortugas Ecological Reserve. The number of
6 violations out there has decreased by 40 percent
7 in the second half of the fiscal year, so we're
8 really happy about that.
9 And one last item, and I'll turn it over to
10 Mr. Causey. Our damage assessment and
11 restoration program, again, I mentioned that we
12 have over 600 groundings reported this past
13 year, vessel groundings. With ouR damage
14 assessment program, we've been able to decrease
15 our response time to those groundings, as well
16 as increase time that we're able to go out and
17 do restoration at these grounding sites, which
18 has enabled us to save a lot of our natural
19 resources, corals and seagrasses.
20 In particular, we restored an area out in
21 the Dry Tortugas where a freighter anchored and
22 caused extensive damage, and we were able to
23 restore over 1,100 corals out there in the Dry
24 Tortugas Ecological Reserve.
25 Thank you. I'm going to turn it over to
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you.
3 MR. CAUSEY: Good morning, Governor and
4 Honorable Cabinet Members. Thank you very much
5 for having us again this year. We always look
6 forward to this time. Again, my name is Billy
7 Causey, and I'm the superintendent of the
8 Florida Keys National Marine --
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: It's the only time you wear
10 a coat and tie, isn't it, Billy?
11 MR. CAUSEY: Excuse me?
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: It's the only time you get
13 to wear a coat and tie, when you come up here to
14 the Cabinet.
15 MR. CAUSEY: That's right. And Allison
16 Defore (phonetic) says I have to get the
17 mothball smell out of my coats better.
18 GOVERNOR BUSH: How would Allison know?
20 MR. CAUSEY: Well, I want to point out as I
21 open, we have a tremendous state-federal
22 partnership here in the State of Florida between
23 NOAA and the State of Florida, the Department of
24 Environmental Protection, and the Fish and
25 Wildlife Conservation Commission. My colleagues
2 States are envious of this state-federal
3 partnership and the way it has worked over the
5 But I want to point out just some of the
6 things that we appreciate so much, and one is
7 your decision to avoid the coral reefs in the
8 Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary when you
9 approved the access corridors for the fiber
10 optic cables. I think the decisions that were
11 made there, the use of some of the
12 state-of-the-art technology to map the contours
13 of the ocean floor and to bring those cables in
14 through the right corridors was a tremendous
15 statement on your part as far as being concerned
16 about the environment and the coral reef
17 habitats, but also being very cognizant of the
18 importance economically of having fiber optic
19 cables come into the state. So those are the
20 kinds of things that we tremendously appreciate.
21 Back in December of 2002, the Florida Keys
22 National Marine Sanctuary and Florida was really
23 put on the international map in this designation
24 of Particularly Sensitive Sea Area. This is an
25 international maritime organization designation,
2 was named in the world. And these are areas
3 that are set aside because of their particular
4 environmental sensitivity, and they're areas
5 where you have had lot of shipping traffic, and
6 there are threats due to that shipping traffic.
7 And by establishing the Particularly
8 Sensitive Sea Area, it puts us literally on the
9 global maps, the nautical charts, that the
10 Florida Keys are an area where, when they're
11 navigating through that area, they have to be
12 aware that there are no-anchor zones, there are
13 areas where they can't transit, but that we are
14 also trying to work with the shipping community
15 to identify these very special areas. Ships
16 greater than 50 meters in length or 164 feet in
17 length have to stay outside an area to be
18 avoided around the Keys, but have the corridor
19 to get into Key West and other areas. The
20 Particularly Sensitive Sea Area puts this on the
21 British Admiralty Charts, for example. So we
22 really are excited about that happening during
23 the last year.
24 Another thing I want to report is that we
25 have been working very closely with our state
2 state and federal, to work with the Navy in the
3 Key West harbor dredging project. I think this
4 has been a model of cooperation. A project that
5 would normally take two to three years to get
6 the permits, we were able to deliver the permit
7 to the U.S. Navy within one year. And we used a
8 process that we've used often in the Keys
9 between our state partners and the federal
10 government, where we bring everyone to the table
11 at one time, to where the Navy and the Corps of
12 Engineers don't have to keep going to each of
13 the agencies, and it's all done at one time, and
14 all the concerns are heard.
15 I have to say the Navy has been extremely
16 cooperative with us. They're going to be -- and
17 this is one time that harbor dredging is a very
18 positive thing, because they're going to be
19 removing the sediments out of the Key West
20 harbor that have accumulated there over the --
21 since the '60s, which was the last maintenance
22 dredging project. And those sediments have
23 accumulated there, and sediment is really lethal
24 to coral reefs. Sedimentation and turbidity are
25 a problem. So by removing that sediment, it's
2 really, really happy about that, and I have to
3 say our state partners and the feds have all
4 worked very well together.
5 The last thing I want to emphasize is, you
6 heard Ann McCarthy point out the success of the
7 Tortugas Ecological Reserve. A lot of people
8 hear about these fully protected areas and their
9 importance. And, Governor, you and the Cabinet
10 took leadership in this nation by establishing
11 the Tortugas Ecological Reserve as this nation's
12 largest fully protected marine protected area.
13 Another type of our zoning that we use in
14 the Florida Keys are called wildlife management
15 areas, and these are turning into really
16 successes. We don't prohibit fishing or
17 activities like that, but we do limit the kinds
18 of access to these areas. And in fact, this
19 year, or this month, we're going to be featured
20 in the Florida Fly Fisherman magazine, where the
21 reporter went through the Keys talking to flats
22 guys, tried to find someone to say something
23 negative about these areas, and all they could
24 hear were positive things. So I'm going to
25 frame that one and put it on my wall and,
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: Could you?
3 MR. CAUSEY: But I just want to say that --
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: I'll put it up there on the
5 wall with all the other positive news stories I
7 MR. CAUSEY: Fantastic. But again, I want
8 to express my appreciation on behalf of my
9 supervisor, my boss, the Director of the
10 National --
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: How are we going to measure
12 the success of the Dry Tortugas preserve? Is
13 there a way to measure downstream or upstream,
14 upcurrent? Can you count the critters?
15 MR. CAUSEY: Yes, sir. There are several
16 different ways, and we're looking at it a number
17 of ways. One is that we have scientists that
18 are looking at the fish and lobster in the area,
19 and a number of scientists that are looking at
20 different aspects.
21 The more difficult thing is to be able to
22 trace where the larvae are actually going. But
23 now with some of the technologies that they have
24 available, you can actually look at the snapper
25 in Florida Bay and look at the snapper and find
2 whether they're from the same spawning group.
3 So there are ways that -- we're looking at the
4 various current patterns, and we mimic the
5 lobster, or we mimic different species. And
6 when they spawn and release that spawn and it
7 circulates for three to four weeks before they
8 settle out, we're able to track through current
9 meters and drifting -- drift bottles just
10 exactly where they're being distributed.
11 So there are ways that we're looking at
12 that, but the best way is to listen to the
13 fishermen and to see where the fishermen are
14 fishing on the edges of these areas.
15 In the Western Sambos Ecological Reserve,
16 the fishermen fish right up to the very edge,
17 which is a clear signal to us that they either
18 think there are more fish inside or that they
19 want to be the first ones to catch them when
20 they come out. But there are ways to do it.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: That's good solid science.
22 MR. CAUSEY: The question you asked about
23 the Speigel Grove, and then I'll -- this is the
24 last item. It did turn over on its side. And
25 one of the things that we've been doing, we've
2 are using it, because we sold this to the public
3 on the fact that we think that it takes diving
4 pressure off the natural reefs. And what we
5 have found is that by being on its side, it's
6 attracting a greater diversity of reef fish
7 species and that it's actually turning into a
8 very positive event. Divers like to dive on
9 them sitting upright, but on its side it's
10 actually attracting more species.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Then why didn't you put it
12 on the side to begin with?
13 MR. CAUSEY: Well, that was up to the ones
14 that were running the project, and they wanted
15 an upright ship. And they would still like to
16 have it upright, but from a biological and
17 ecological perspective, on its side is not bad.
18 GOVERNOR BUSH: It's kind of like turning
19 a lemon into lemonade, huh?
20 MR. CAUSEY: That's right. I can spin it.
21 All right. Thank you, Governor.
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you, Billy.
23 MR. STRUHS: We do need a motion to accept
24 the report.
25 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion.
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
3 Without objection, the item passes.
4 We thank you all for coming to give us this
5 presentation. We really do.
6 MR. STRUHS: Item 3, sir, continues this
7 theme of strong state-federal partnerships. As
8 you know, we've been a strong partner in
9 providing land for the expansion of Everglades
10 National Park. This items would convey to the
11 National Park Service 329, almost 330 acres,
12 which will be the final installation by the
13 State of Florida for the completion of an
14 expanded Everglades National Park.
15 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 3.
16 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
17 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
18 Without objection, the item passes.
19 MR. STRUHS: Item 4 deals with Murphy Act
20 lands. And as you know, these are properties,
21 oftentimes very small parcels that people lost
22 for taxes during the Great Depression, and our
23 instructions have been to try to return them to
24 the tax rolls where they could be put back on
25 the tax rolls. We check with local and county
2 want them. In this case, they did not. This is
3 Nassau County. We put them in a local
4 newspaper, advertised them for the appraised
5 value. In this case, we had but one respondent
6 willing to pay the appraised value plus the cost
7 of the appraisal itself.
8 We would recommend approval of this item.
9 These lands, as you all know, are not
10 conservation lands. These are lands that have
11 been held by the State now for some decades.
12 CFO GALLAGHER: I have a question. We're
13 going to get $7,500 for 14 acres, almost 15.
14 And the only reason I can imagine somebody would
15 want to buy this is to use it as mitigation so
16 they can develop some other wetlands.
17 MR. STRUHS: That's one option; that's
19 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, do you think that's
20 what's going to happen here? I mean, that's
21 sort of what I --
22 MR. STRUHS: Well, we really don't know.
23 And I guess the point I would make is that once
24 a private owner has it, they can do whatever
25 they can with the property as long as it's legal
2 through the local government or the water
3 management district.
4 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, where I'm coming from
5 is, I mean, the idea that you have mitigation is
6 to protect wetlands; right? At least that's
7 what I believe.
8 MR. STRUHS: That's correct.
9 CFO GALLAGHER: And so we've already got
10 them protected. We own it. So we're going to
11 now sell it to somebody so it becomes
12 technically unprotected, and that person is
13 going to use that that was already protected so
14 they can develop some other wetlands that are
16 MR. STRUHS: I guess there are two ways for
17 the State to protect wetland interests. One is
18 by owning them; the other is by regulating
19 them. In this case, we own them, but we didn't
20 own them because of their particular natural
21 resource values. We own them because of a
22 depression many decades ago.
23 To the extent that they are now private if
24 the sale goes through, they would still be
25 regulated as wetlands, and they would still have
2 that owner wanted to develop it or use it as
4 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, I understand that.
5 I don't think anybody is going to develop it.
6 What I think they're going to do is, they're
7 going to take the advantage of that as owned
8 wetland and put it into a nondevelopable, you
9 know, mitigation area so that they can develop
10 another wetland that they own.
11 MR. STRUHS: That is a possibility.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Or they may use it. They
13 may harvest the timber.
14 MR. STRUHS: That's true too.
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: I mean, there could be
16 uses for the property that aren't -- that are
17 within the law.
18 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, if they have a bunch
19 of timber on it, probably $7,500 is pretty
21 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Well, you haven't
22 seen timber prices lately.
23 CFO GALLAGHER: I should have known.
24 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Fourteen acres of
25 timber at today's prices, they're not going to
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: How can timber prices be so
3 low now when lumber prices are so high?
4 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Well, lumber itself
5 has gone up, processed lumber, and a lot of
6 that is coming in from Canada and Australia and
7 other places. But our own domestic timber has
8 not really surged in price that much. So there
9 is --
10 CFO GALLAGHER: Who's making the --
11 COMMISSION BRONSON: It's one of those
12 trade issue things that we've been talking about
13 over the last few years.
14 CFO GALLAGHER: So the middleman is making
15 all the money here.
16 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Well, somebody is.
17 The farmer's not.
18 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, where I'm coming from
19 is, we're -- I mean, is this some program we
20 want to do? We want to find all the Murphy land
21 that exists that happens to be wet and sell it
22 to private developers so they can develop the
23 wetland they own? I mean, I feel like we're
24 going backwards here.
25 MR. STRUHS: Actually, the instructions
2 the Board is to dispose of all Murphy Act lands,
3 whether they're wet and dry or anything in
4 between. One of the reasons is because --
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Unless they're part of some
6 strategic effort --
7 MR. STRUHS: That's correct.
8 GOVERNOR: -- to conserve land. I mean,
9 that's --
10 MR. STRUHS: That's right.
11 CFO GALLAGHER: You know, I'm not
12 disagreeing with that. What my concern is is
13 that, you know, somebody owns, you know, 14
14 acres that happens to be wet on, you know, I
15 guess I-95, and obviously he hasn't been able to
16 develop it, so he spends 75 extra hundred bucks
17 and puts this up and, you know, builds his
18 shopping center. And maybe that's the best use
19 for that land when you really look at it if it's
20 sitting on I-95, but --
21 MR. STRUHS: Sure.
22 CFO GALLAGHER: You know, that's probably a
23 bad example, but --
24 GOVERNOR BUSH: I was going to say.
25 CFO GALLAGHER: There's some others that
2 not particularly want them to fill and put a
3 high-rise, you know, right next to a preserve.
4 And for 7,500 bucks, you know, they've got a
5 14-acre property they can develop. I'm just --
6 you know, I don't want to say not to do this
7 particular one, but I'm worried about if this is
8 an ongoing thing we're going to be doing. You
9 know, are we going to be able to -- the brag is
10 we put it on the tax roll. And I don't know --
11 as a process, is this environmentally sound as
12 an ongoing -- grab all the wetland Murphy lands
13 we can find and let everybody use them for
15 MR. STRUHS: The Governor made a good
16 point, which is that if it is a parcel that can
17 be utilized for conservation purposes, we
18 wouldn't look to sell it. We would look to
19 incorporate it into some kind of larger
20 management scheme.
21 The issue with these parcels is that many
22 of them are very small, and they're disjointed,
23 and they're very difficult for the State to
24 manage. In fact, I think we can honestly say
25 that we don't manage them, and in many cases
2 trespass and use them as a cheap way to get rid
3 of garbage.
4 So one of the things that we tried to do is
5 look at the size of the parcel and its location,
6 and these are properties that we really can't
7 effectively manage for a conservation purpose or
8 probably any purpose.
9 CFO GALLAGHER: Then that leads me to say
10 that somebody in this case, this couple, or
11 somebody else -- I don't want to pick on them --
12 spends their 7,500 bucks and buys this 15
13 acres. You know, I don't think they're going to
14 be managing it. It's hard for me to believe
15 that. My guess is that it sits there, and it's
16 still not going to get managed, and people are
17 still going to dump stuff on it. What's to stop
19 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Well, Governor, I
20 understand where the Chief Financial Officer is
21 coming from. But if I happen to be owner of
22 some property that butts up next to that 14
23 acres and I wanted to make sure somebody didn't
24 build next to me or didn't throw something in on
25 top of me, for $7,500, I would be more than
2 from happening next to my own property.
3 So I -- you know, there's two ways to look
4 at this, and one is a negative side and the
5 other is a positive. But if I happen to be the
6 owners of that land that surrounded it or was
7 next to it and wanted to protect it myself, then
8 I certainly would pay that much money to make
9 sure nobody built a house on top of me or built
10 something else next to me.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Do we know -- I mean, did
12 they come to the candidates meeting to say what
13 its proposed use was, or was there any --
14 MR. STRUHS: Well, yes. I think in the
15 discussions with the Franklin family, they
16 indicated a potential interest in using these
17 for wetlands mitigation.
18 Having said that, that's not part of the
19 contract. When we dispose of these parcels,
20 they can use that property for any use that they
21 can get permission.
22 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, what we have here is,
23 there's one piece that's 10 acres, and the rest
24 of them, we've got a one, a one and a half, 1.6,
25 and a .6. Are they near each other, or do they
2 MR. STRUHS: Well, they're all in Nassau
3 County, but they are not adjacent to each other.
4 They're sort of a mosaic.
5 What I can do for you is, we can try to
6 survey all the existing Murphy Act properties
7 and give you a sense as to how many of them are
8 wet and how many of them are dry and the nature
9 of the properties that we are trying to --
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Eva is right behind you.
11 MR. STRUHS: Eva just told me we've
12 actually already employed somebody to do that
13 particular project for us. It's a big
14 assignment, because there are a lot of these
15 parcels around the state.
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Repeat it. I don't think
17 Tom was --
18 MR. STRUHS: There are tens of thousands of
19 these Murphy Act parcels across the State of
20 Florida. We apparently have employed somebody
21 on a contract basis to go out and try to assess
22 the condition and status of these parcels.
23 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, you understand where
24 I'm coming from with the --
25 MR. STRUHS: Yes.
2 just keep selling wetlands to let people
3 mitigate with them? You know, we're not
4 carrying out our mitigation obligation that
5 way. I mean, maybe we are. I have a hard time
6 seeing that we are, but, you know, maybe we are,
7 although if it's already sitting in our -- we
8 know nobody is going to build it while we own
9 it. The idea of mitigation is to let somebody
10 go buy somebody else's or put their own up and
11 see to it that it's not ever going to be
12 developed and it's protected as a wetland.
13 MR. STRUHS: Well, I can tell you we really
14 felt on this item, as we have on all these
15 Murphy Act exchanges, that we were actually
16 following the instructions of the Board. If we
17 want to go in a new direction or new policy,
18 that's fine, but we were actually trying to
19 execute the instructions we were given.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: To use Tom's analogy, we
21 get money. It is on the tax rolls. The
22 development process is still intact. If we
23 didn't do it, there -- and the mitigation
24 typically is not acre for acre or foot for
25 foot. It's typically --
2 than --
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: Yes. So mitigation in and
4 of itself has that benefit. And the good news
5 would be that we're not going to sell property
6 that is part of our mission, I would assume. I
7 mean, that would be -- since I've been Governor,
8 that has never happened.
9 MR. STRUHS: That's correct.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: And I don't think anybody
11 on this Cabinet would ever allow that to happen.
12 So from a policy point of view, I think it makes
14 Now, you know, if every -- these thousands
15 of tracts of land, if they're all wetlands, then
16 there needs to be some re-evaluation. My guess
17 is that it probably reflects the mix of the, you
18 know, land in the state. I don't think it would
19 be any different.
20 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: But, Governor, I
21 think we need to be very practical about how
22 we're looking at this too. Quite frankly,
23 privately owned and controlled lands are
24 actually kept in better shape than what we're
25 capable of putting money --
2 off-parcels, there's no way we're going to --
3 you would have to have an army of people out
5 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: And if they use it
6 for their own park, or whatever they use it for,
7 for mitigation, to keep it that way, the chances
8 are they're going to take better care of it and
9 keep the non-native species and so forth off of
10 it better than what we're capable of doing on
11 our own state lands. So from a positive
12 standpoint, the land may be more positively kept
13 than what we're capable of doing ourselves right
15 CFO GALLAGHER: My guess is that this group
16 of areas, somebody is going to put that up in a
17 trade so they can get a development right on
18 another piece and, you know, never will this be
19 visited again. That's just a gut thought.
20 MR. STRUHS: Commissioner, I think one of
21 the bigger policy issues that might deserve your
22 attention would be, do you want us in the future
23 to ask the potential purchaser what their
24 intentions are for the property? Right now they
25 sometimes share that as a matter of course, but
2 nor is it something that we would require.
3 I was just alerted to the fact that just
4 yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin indicated that
5 their intention for at least some of these
6 parcels would be to remove the timber from the
7 land. Now, that's something that they've shared
8 with us voluntarily. It's not something that we
9 would normally have requested or have
10 incorporated into the exchange or the sale.
11 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, the --
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Prices are going up,
14 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: It depends on what
15 they're going to do with it.
16 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, I think for -- you
17 know, here's the deal. They can take the timber
18 off and still use it as wetlands mitigation.
19 You know, you can maybe get both. Why wouldn't
20 you if you bought it for that?
21 I'm just -- it's just whether -- I'm
22 concerned about the policy of selling it, using
23 it for mitigation. And maybe my worries are not
25 I can see a business set up to come to
2 Murphy Act properties are and start putting
3 together for developers, here's -- you know,
4 here's what you buy. You can buy it, you know,
5 pretty cheap, and I'll put these together for
6 you, and you can go develop the other land.
7 That sounds like a pretty good business for me.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: But it's also -- that would
9 be a very efficient thing to do, if you think
10 about it. It --
11 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, it might be.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: That's the -- under the
13 assumption that our growth management process
14 works, that our permitting process works, that
15 land use decisions at the local level are better
16 now than they were, which in most places I would
17 say that's the case. I'm not sure it is across
18 the board. So that's why mitigation -- I mean,
19 I'm a big fan of it, because I think it does
20 bring an efficiency to a marketplace. And the
21 question is, do we have to own the land and
22 assume that that land is better off --
23 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, I'm all for the
24 mitigation program. I think it makes sense. It
25 allows developers to develop property that ought
2 wetlands of equal value. And my concern is, are
3 they supposed to -- is it a good idea for them
4 to get ones that are already protected? I mean,
5 the whole idea is to protect other wetlands that
6 aren't -- that could be under threat. So, you
7 know, here we are providing the mitigation to
8 them instead of them buying something else and
9 protecting it. I mean, right now while we own
10 it, it's protected. So we're -- you know, other
11 than the argument that we're putting it on the
12 tax roll and we're getting a few dollars for it
13 -- I guess that's a positive. Anyway --
14 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: For the counties, it
15 would be a great positive, I can tell you that.
16 CFO GALLAGHER: I'm sure.
17 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: If the outcome is
18 the same, it's being protected for its wetlands
19 features and is going to be protected by the
20 property owner and probably taken care of
21 better, then I think the exchange of the
22 positives on this is much greater than us --
23 CFO GALLAGHER: It may be.
24 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: -- just hanging on
25 to it and keeping it, when you're going to have
2 taking care of their own property. I see some
3 positive sides. There can be some negatives,
4 but I see more positives than I do negatives.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Any other discussion?
6 CFO GALLAGHER: That completes the
7 discussion. We can move on.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, we've got to vote.
9 CFO GALLAGHER: Yes, we do.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is there a motion?
11 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is there a second?
13 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: All in favor say aye.
15 (Simultaneous affirmative responses.)
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: All opposed? The motion
18 MR. STRUHS: Thank you for that. Item
19 5 --
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Do you want an extension,
21 or was that enough?
22 MR. STRUHS: Item 5, we recommend approval.
23 This will allow an easement to be released, and
24 in exchange for that, we're getting a new
25 entrance built into the state property.
2 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
4 Without objection, the item passes.
5 MR. STRUHS: Item 6 is a really fine item.
6 It is a remarkable opportunity to put in a new
7 trailhead that will be serving trails that head
8 both north and south and east and west.
9 Mark Middlebrooks is here from the City of
10 Jacksonville, if you would come on up, Mark. We
11 just want to share with you a map so you can get
12 a quick idea what this property is all about.
13 This is a -- using Florida Forever monies
14 reserved for the Greenways and Trails program,
15 the City of Jacksonville has already purchased
16 the property. We reimburse them 50 percent, and
17 the Board of Trustees take 100 percent of the
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: You know, if you put it on
20 the stand --
21 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Lay that down.
22 CFO GALLAGHER: There you go. Look up to
23 your left, and you'll see --
24 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: I'm getting seasick
2 you focus that, Eva?
3 CFO GALLAGHER: They'll zip in on it once
4 they figure out where they're going to zip to.
5 MS. ARMSTRONG: Mike is going to fix it
6 for us. The parcel you're focusing in on is
7 this here.
8 CFO GALLAGHER: I think somebody in the
9 back usually does the zooming.
10 (Simultaneous conversation.)
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Whoa, there we go.
12 MR. STRUHS: Go ahead, Mark.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Give us some orientation,
15 MS. ARMSTRONG: This is I-10 going across
16 here, 90 right above it. The property we're
17 acquiring is facing right off of 90. It's the
18 property right here. You have Cary Forest to
19 the north in bright green, and you have Jennings
20 State Forest off the map to the south down here.
21 What else would you like me to point out?
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: Cecil Field.
23 MR. MIDDLEBROOKS: Cecil Field is right --
24 (Simultaneous conversation.)
25 MS. ARMSTRONG: And then the Baldwin Trail,
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: All right.
4 MS. ARMSTRONG: And the trailhead. Oh,
5 yes, the trailhead. This will be the trailhead
6 for the trail.
7 MR. MIDDLEBROOKS: This is a trailhead
8 that serves primarily --
9 (Simultaneous conversation.)
10 MR. MIDDLEBROOKS: -- and stretches from
11 Cary Forest to Jennings State Forest. We have
12 about 12 land acquisitions to do to make the
13 final connection between the Rails to Trails and
14 the two forests. This is an intermediate
15 trailhead off 90 or Beaver Street that would be
16 serving this entire area to the north.
17 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 6.
18 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second. Governor,
19 I would also like to say -- and I've met a
20 number of times with the previous mayor, as well
21 as working with the current administration,
22 because we do have some state forest involved in
23 this -- that they're probably as a city one of
24 the groups that have worked the hardest to try
25 to keep these open green spaces within their
2 and use it as a connector to the greenways and
3 trails, which is what the whole connection idea
4 of greenways and trails was for. And I think we
5 ought to applaud Jacksonville for sticking their
6 neck out and going to do some of these projects
7 where the State has not been able to come
8 directly in, but is working as a partner with
9 Jacksonville to accomplish their goal, which is
10 to keep these open green spaces for wildlife and
11 natural resources in the Jacksonville area, and
12 I'm proud to second that motion.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion and a
14 second. Without objection, the motion passes.
15 Thank you very much. Send our regards to
16 the mayor, please.
17 MR. MIDDLEBROOKS: I will do that.
18 MR. STRUHS: Item 7 continues our progress
19 in acquiring sensitive properties in the Green
20 Swamp area. This is two different option
21 agreements, one for a perpetual conservation
22 easement, the other for a fee simple
23 acquisition. We recommend approval for both of
24 those items.
25 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 7.
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
3 Without objection, the item passes.
4 GENERAL CRIST: Just a question, Governor.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Yes, General.
6 GENERAL CRIST: Thank you. David, on this
7 one, is this the one that has 70 percent? This
8 creates a conservation easement, does it not?
9 MR. STRUHS: Yes, sir. The first -- there
10 are two transactions here. The one that is the
11 conservation easement is the first one. That's
12 with Tami Charlton.
13 GENERAL CRIST: But it allows 30 percent to
14 be used for the easement, or is it -- do you
15 know the percentage?
16 MR. STRUHS: The easement is over the
17 entire property.
18 GENERAL CRIST: Okay.
19 MR. STRUHS: The easement covers the entire
20 property. And the second one is a fee simple
22 I will point out just one interesting
23 policy point that is probably worth bringing to
24 your attention. On this conservation easement,
25 it allows the owner to continue to use the
2 last example of a conservation easement in the
3 Green Swamp area where we would allow the
4 conversion to row crops.
5 GENERAL CRIST: I guess that was the
6 question, I guess. You know, do we want to get
7 a conservation easement, and yet part of the
8 property is not arguably used for conservation
10 MR. STRUHS: Right. Well, these things --
11 as you know, every conservation easement is
12 unique. Each one is negotiated with a different
13 owner for a different parcel. Sometimes if you
14 want to be successful in getting an easement
15 negotiated, it requires compromise both ways.
16 And in this case, in order to get the easement
17 for the State, the seller insisted on being able
18 to reserve the right to convert some of this
19 property to row crops. In our estimation, it
20 was still appropriate and a useful acquisition
21 for the State.
22 But what I wanted to share with you just as
23 a point of, I think, policy consideration going
24 forward, it probably is the last one that we
25 will bring to you that would have the allowance
2 Swamp area.
3 GENERAL CRIST: You anticipated my next
4 question. Thank you.
5 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 7.
6 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
7 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded.
8 Without objection the item passes.
9 MR. STRUHS: Item 8, we would like to
10 withdraw that item.
11 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion to withdraw 8.
12 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion to
14 withdraw and a second. Without objection, the
15 item passes. When do you think you'll have that
16 back to us?
17 MR. STRUHS: I hope it will be back in
18 about a month.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Okay. There's a good --
20 back to your subject of uses for conservation
21 easements, this is --
22 CFO GALLAGHER: A challenge.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: A real challenge, and very
25 MR. STRUHS: I know you're short on time,
2 terms of the nature of the discussions that are
3 ongoing now, the Board of Trustees some time
4 ago was very successful in negotiating a
5 conservation easement for Fisheating Creek
6 Phase 1.
7 GOVERNOR BUSH: Right.
8 MR. STRUHS: And in Phase 1, that was the
9 result of a settlement of longstanding
10 litigation. And it was interesting the way that
11 conservation easement was constructed, in that
12 what it did is, it had the State purchase all of
13 the rights on the property but for those that
14 were singled out and retained by the Lykes
15 Company. That is probably the only conservation
16 easement of its kind in the State of Florida
17 where the State purchased everything but for
18 those rights retained by the landowner.
19 What we're focusing on now in Phase 3 -- we
20 skipped Phase 2 -- is a conservation easement
21 that is far more similar to other conservation
22 easements around the state where through the
23 easement the State is buying particular rights.
24 You're not buying all of them but those reserved
25 by the seller. Instead, the State is just
2 things that had complicated this transaction is
3 recognizing that, while it is still Fisheating
4 Creek and it is still part of that larger term
5 conservation agenda, the starting point of the
6 discussion is more similar to other conservation
7 easements around the state. Phase 1 was unique.
8 CFO GALLAGHER: Well, I think what we
9 ought to be doing is the other way around. We
10 ought to be buying these properties and allowing
11 specific rights to stay with the seller, because
12 the other way, we have a good chance of
13 forgetting something like minerals, oil
14 drilling. I mean, who knows what it could be.
15 And that wasn't mentioned, so therefore we don't
16 retain the rights, they do. And if you say,
17 "Okay. We're going to buy it all except for,"
18 and put the exceptions back to the seller so
19 that we know exactly what they can do with the
20 land. If it's they can use it for range for
21 cattle, fine. If they can use it for
22 recreation, they can build, you know, one house
23 every so many acres, whatever they can do, it's
24 spelled out that way instead of, you know, we
25 spell out what we've saved.
2 sorry. That's why I raised this issue, because
3 that is the underlying part of the issue in
4 terms of the difference between Phase 1 and
5 Phase 3 on Fisheating Creek. Phase 3 is looking
6 a lot more like every other conservation
7 easement we've done over the last five years.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, answer Tom's
10 CFO GALLAGHER: Why aren't we -- what
11 you've told me is that we're paying them money,
12 and we're saying "This is what we bought from
13 you. You can do everything else," as opposed to
14 saying, "We're giving you money. We get
15 everything, and we'll give you these certain
16 things that you want to retain."
17 MR. STRUHS: I think if you look at
18 conservation easements around the country, not
19 just in Florida, the way we are doing it now is
20 typical. It is the conventional approach. One
21 of the reasons that's the conventional approach
22 is because conservation easements, the origin of
23 the idea was that it was truly to be a
24 partnership, a partnership between a private
25 landowner and public interest.
2 assume this is not a typical piece of property.
3 It's 24,000 acres, and there's another one
4 coming. I think you can put aside convention
5 and look at this from the Treasurer's
6 perspective and concur that in this negotiation
7 for such a large piece of property, it ought to
8 be totally transparent. In other words, we
9 ought to know what we get and what they can use
10 the property for after we have an easement on
11 it. I think that's very fair. And just because
12 convention says you do it one way -- we probably
13 lead the nation in conservation easements, and
14 there are not many 23,000-acre tracts of land
15 that you're going to be negotiating.
16 CFO GALLAGHER: $24 million.
17 GOVERNOR BUSH: So I think his counsel as
18 you go about negotiating in the next month is
20 MR. STRUHS: And I appreciate that very
21 much. It does, of course, have an effect on the
22 value of the easement, and that's another
23 consideration in terms of --
24 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, then you get back to
25 the only game in town concept, which, as has
2 really the -- this is the last frontier of
3 Florida. It's worth protecting because it has
4 tremendous conservation values. But, you know,
5 there's not going to be a new town built in the
6 next 10 years. I was talking to Ken and
7 Stephanie about this. The Berry Farms deal, you
8 know, we bought, and they were platting, or they
9 were working on building this gigantic city out
10 near LaBelle, and --
11 CFO GALLAGHER: Sure they were.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: You now, the price went up,
13 and we paid for it. It was very important as
14 part of our efforts to -- for the Everglades
15 restoration project. It was a very valuable
16 piece of land. But you've got to remember that
17 we're an important player this, and I think
18 you've learned that. I'm confident that a fair
19 deal can be done.
20 CFO GALLAGHER: Here's the thing. We're
21 paying at this point on -- on this one that
22 we're withdrawing, at this point it's 68 percent
23 of the value.
24 MR. STRUHS: That's correct.
25 CFO GALLAGHER: And so we should be
2 percent, 32 percent, as opposed to, you know, we
3 spell out what we bought for 68.
4 MR. STRUHS: And I would argue that any
5 conservation easement that is well written will
6 accomplish that.
7 GOVERNOR BUSH: So this one will.
8 MR. STRUHS: Yes.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Just confirm it. That's
10 what --
11 CFO GALLAGHER: All right. Well, let's
12 move on, and we'll see it when you get it done.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good. Why are you
15 MR. STRUHS: Well, because I just was
16 trying to draw the distinction between the
17 starting point, the starting point of the
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, You're starting over.
20 CFO GALLAGHER: What you're getting from us
21 is start over, and the idea is, their 32 percent
22 that they're retaining is the following things.
23 And then we want to -- then when we look at it,
24 we'll say, "Okay. Well, that looks like it's 32
25 percent," or "My goodness, that looks like it's
2 that's -- see how good a negotiator you are.
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: All right. There's a
4 motion to withdraw and a second. I believe
5 we've already -- maybe we haven't.
6 CFO GALLAGHER: I don't think we did.
7 GOVERNOR BUSH: Without objection, the item
8 is withdrawn.
9 Item 9.
10 MR. STRUHS: Item 9 is an agreement that
11 needs to be approved by three bodies, the South
12 Florida Water Management District, the Board of
13 Trustees, and the Collier County Commission.
14 The governing board of the Water Management
15 District has already approved it. It is on the
16 agenda for the next County Commission meeting.
17 And it was important that we get this on the
18 agenda today so that we can get your approval.
19 This is what will transfer the roadways in
20 Southern Golden Gate Estates to the County so
21 that we can move forward with this project that,
22 as you know, is critical to Everglades
24 CFO GALLAGHER: Motion on 9.
25 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
2 to point out an important consideration.
3 Ordinarily when we would bring something like
4 this to you, we would have already negotiated
5 all the particulars as to the utility easements
6 that are already on that property. In this
7 case, they are not. But I wanted to make clear
8 for the record is that our intention is that
9 these would be the typical 50-year utility
10 easements. And these are easements that are
11 already in place. We're just recording them.
12 CFO GALLAGHER: There's a motion and a
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion and a
15 second. Any other discussion?
16 Without objection, the item passes. Thank
17 you, David.
18 MR. STRUHS: Thank you.
19 (Proceedings concluded at 10:55 a.m.)
2 CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER
4 STATE OF FLORIDA)
5 COUNTY OF LEON )
7 I, MARY ALLEN NEEL, do hereby certify that the
8 foregoing proceedings were taken before me at the time
9 and place therein designated; that my shorthand notes
10 were thereafter transcribed under my supervision; and
11 that the foregoing pages numbered 1 through 95 are a
12 true and correct transcription of my stenographic
14 I FURTHER CERTIFY that I am not a relative,
15 employee, attorney or counsel of any of the parties,
16 or relative or employee of such attorney or counsel,
17 or financially interested in the action.
18 DATED THIS 26th day of September, 2003.