The following message was sent to Jim Stratton, a reporter with the Orlando Sentinel, after receipt of his email, shown below. In keeping with the proper protocols of the Central Florida Partnership, my statement was emailed over the weekend to our many dedicated Volunteer Leaders and to our many thousands of Supporters: including the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Partnership, the Board of Directors of Orlando, Inc., the Board of Directors of BusinessForce, the Executive Board of Advisors of myregion.org, members of the "Organizing Committee" of "Open for Business," members of the "Open for Business" Regional Work Groups, members of the "Open for Business" Management Committee, members of the Central Florida Congress of Regional Leaders, members of the Central Florida Roundtable for Community Based Organizations, Investors in the Central Florida Partnership, members of the Central Florida Chambers of Commerce Alliance, members of the Central Florida Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC), members of the Central Florida Legislative Delegation, Central Florida Mayors, Central Florida County Commissioners and County Council Members, the Central Florida Council of "Great Thinkers," the "A-Team" (2012 Leadership Alumni Association), myregion.org Regional Boards of Advisors, Graduates of the Central Florida Political Institute, and members of the Central Florida Regional Caucus.
For over a decade, beginning with the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce and continuing today with the Central Florida Partnership and three (3) of our "Lines of Business" (Leadership Orlando, myregion.org and Orlando, Inc.), we have proudly supported the work of Workforce Central Florida; and, too, they have proudly supported our efforts. Along these lines, we have been Community Partners with Workforce Central Florida, advancing their important work; using our programs, events, activities and tools of communications to inform business, civic and government leaders about their significant leadership role in Central Florida.
Toward this end, the report authored by the Office of the Inspector General of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, dated June 8, 2012, validates the important work of "Open for Business," a project organized by the Central Florida Partnership, Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc., Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando, Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, and Workforce Central Florida. And, as a point of reference, "Open for Business," continues to be a project of The Florida Eight, a program of Workforce Florida, Inc., further demonstrating its value to the working families of Florida.
Volunteer Leaders from the Central Florida Partnership and Volunteer Leaders from the other members of the "Organizing Committee" of "Open for Business," along with the Volunteer Co-Chairs of the three (3) "Open for Business" Regional Work Groups have faithfully served our "family of communities" by advancing the important work of "Open for Business."
As a matter of fact, "Open for Business" was strongly supported by many groups and organizations across the Central Florida Region and was always focused on regional research and community engagement; and was conceived and launched with board community support, led by Volunteer Leaders, seeking to serve our "family of communities." With this in mind, "Open for Business" is about exploring ways to accelerate "job creation" and to encourage "job retention."
From the beginning, "Open for Business," has always been committed to transparency; posting all research, planning documents, agendas, and many other helpful materials explaining this important effort, click here for more information, "Open for Business." The specific results of this collaboration were proudly presented by our six (6) Volunteer Co-Chairs to a standing room only crowd, at a Regional Business Summit, with every detail and every recommendation "open for all to see."
The contract between the Foundation for Building Community, Inc., and Workforce Central Florida was constructed by Workforce Central Florida, and advanced to us by the Staff of Workforce Central Florida; we signed it, confidently assuming that the Staff of Workforce Central Florida had met any and all standards of compliance and had accomplished any and all internal approvals, authorizations and documentations necessary.
It is not the general practice nor is it the responsibility of the Central Florida Partnership to provide an audit function for other organizations; so we have no way of knowing about the many financial protocols and internal administrative procedures of our financial supporters. Because, as you would expect, each organization has very different needs related to their particular accounting records and payment schedules.
Since the Central Florida Partnership was not the author of the contract and since the Central Florida Partnership is not responsible for ensuring that other agencies and organizations maintain their internal compliance and audit standards; it is inappropriate that we comment on the report issued by the Office of the Inspector General of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; other than to say that the work of "Open for Business" is important and we are proud of our efforts, working with others to explore ways to accelerate "job creation" and to encourage "job retention."
From: Stratton, Jim
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2012 4:30 PM
To: Jacob V. Stuart
Subject: FW: Inspector General's report
Just received the findings (attached) of the Inspector General report on the Workforce contribution to "Open for Business." It says, in essence, that Workforce did not receive state approval for the $50,000 contribution, and that the agreement between Workforce and myregion appears to have been structured in a way to circumvent a state order.
Also indicates that OIG did not see great benefit in the project for Workforce Central Florida.
Would you care to comment?