Gov. Rick Scott says the state’s two major economic boards–Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida–should stopping giving bonuses to their employees.
In a letter sent Thursday by Scott to board members of both agencies, Scott said “after a long legislative session where the spending at these organizations was greatly debated, I do not believe that employee compensation should include bonuses at this time.”
The letter comes a week after the Associated Press reported Visit Florida recently paid nearly $441,000 in employee bonuses.
Visit Florida says the bonuses were approved in May and handed out in July–a month after a special legislative session was held to restore funding levels for both agencies.
The Legislature had drastically slashed funding for both agencies after hearing reports about their spending practices. In one case, Visit Florida came under intense scrutiny from lawmakers after it was discovered the tourism marketing agency had signed a $1 million contract with Miami rapper Pitbull to promote Florida in a music video.
Enterprise Florida was criticized for handing out incentives to businesses to bring jobs to the state. House Speaker Richard Corcoran criticized such expenditures by the agency as “corporate welfare.”
But, Scott and legislative leaders reached a compromise and a special session was called to restore funding to the two agencies. As part of the agreement, the agencies were subjected to more accountability measures in their spending practices.
In his letter, Scott said it has been a “tremendous year” for tourism and job growth in Florida. He said he’s “proud” of the reform measures enacted by both agencies to become more transparent and accountable in the way they spend taxpayer money.
Scott wrote that employees should be compensated fairly instead of awarding bonuses to reward workers.
“I would ask you to review the compensation of all employees to ensure that everyone is being compensated fairly relying on salaries rather than bonuses,” Scott wrote to the two boards.
While Enterprise Florida gave out bonuses to employees, it hasn’t awarded any this year