How nonprofit organizations and quasi-public entities use state dollars, a hot topic during the 2020 legislative session, will continue to be debated by lawmakers in the upcoming 2021 session.
The House State Affairs Committee has set aside an hour Tuesday to discuss how to oversee taxpayer money provided to such groups, an issue spurred a year ago after it became public that Tiffany Carr, the former long-serving chief executive officer of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, drew $7.5 million in compensation over three years.
The Department of Children and Families for more than a decade had a sole-source contract, enshrined in Florida law, that made the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence a pass-through for millions of dollars meant for the state’s 42 domestic-violence shelters. In November, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, advised his members of the need to continue review efforts.
“We need to stop congratulating ourselves on how much we spend on a problem and start asking ourselves what we are getting for the money we spend,” Sprowls said. “We thought we were spending millions of dollars to help women and children in the fight against domestic violence. It turned out we were really helping Tiffany Carr buy houses in North Carolina so she could hide away from our process servers.”
Lawmakers last year stripped from state law the coalition’s relationship with the Department of Children and Families. Lawmakers will return next week to Tallahassee for committee meetings in advance of the March 2 start of the legislative session.