My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

In addition to providing goods and services to the people of Florida, our charge as public employees is to do our best to ensure that your tax dollars are put to the highest and best use.

Here at the Department of Financial Services, we continually look for ways to cut costs and stretch our budget. By doing so, we are able to do more with less. It’s not always easy, but we feel strongly that it’s the right thing to do.

I’m proud to say that several of our employees were recently recognized for their innovative abilities to cut costs and improve services in their particular program areas. Florida TaxWatch, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute, hosts an award ceremony each year to honor employees statewide for a job well done. Known as the Prudential Productivity Awards, the reward program encourages state agencies to implement creative, innovative cost saving ideas throughout government.

This year, the Department’s winners included a now-retired Office of Fiscal Integrity investigator, and two teams from our Division of Consumer Services. The Office of Fiscal Integrity is a criminal justice agency that investigates allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse of state money and resources, and our Division of Consumer Services provides a wealth of educational resources to Floridians on topics like finances and financial literacy, insurance and storm preparation.Ted Dudley

Office of Fiscal Integrity

When investigator Ted Dudley discovered a case of suspected fraud against a prison food-service provider, he had to develop innovative strategies to conduct his investigation without allowing the suspect vendor to catch on. Following a lengthy investigation, the case resulted in a recovery of more than $15 million. Thanks to his work, Mr. Dudley stopped this illegal practice, prevented the state from losing additional funds and helped to make the state whole again.

Division of Consumer Services

Serve, Save, Succeed teamTeam One - Serve, Save, Succeed is a socially interactive website for military members and veterans that I’ve written about in editions past. Florida is home to one of the largest active duty and veteran populations in our nation, and they face unique financial challenges. Serve, Save, Succeed is a component of our Financial Frontlines website, which was created to help members of our military address challenges with saving and budgeting, and to afford them information about programs and services that are available to them. Because the site was created using in-house Department resources and talent, we were able to provide assistance to nearly two million people without any added costs!

Team Two - In an effort to streamline the requests received for neutral evaluation, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team developed an automated assignment management system for use by the neutral evaluators. Neutral evaluation is a process in which two parties will submit their case to a neutral — meaning unbiased — evaluator who has expertise in the given area. Within our department, these cases predominantly involve insurance claims disputes. Before the development of this process, a team member had to manually enter information into a database, which was tedious and could be time consuming. This team’s ingenuity not only saves time, it helps consumers resolve disputes faster and at less cost.

While our Department had several winners, we were not the only Department that won awards this year. In total, 166 state employees received awards. To learn more about this award program or to view the full list of all state winners, click here.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! Thank you for your dedication to public service. We all win when our state government operates in a tighter, leaner, better way.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Inside StoriesFlorida's Bottom Line Inside Stories

The latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line highlights the factors that have impacted U.S. financial markets and what it means for Florida’s economy. Inside you will find keen insight from financial experts here in Florida as well as details about a new tool that tracks the strength of Florida’s businesses in the stock market. Read exclusive articles written for the newsletter by:

  • Ash Williams, Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of the Florida State Board of Administration;
  • Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Chief Economist at Raymond James Financial, a Florida-based financial firm located in Tampa; and
  • Gene Anderson, Ph.D., the Dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Miami.

By shining a light on what has occurred in financial markets, we hope to provide information about the state of Florida’s economy so Floridians can feel confident about their financial footing and businesses can continue to grow, creating more jobs in our communities and strengthening the state’s economy. Read about these recent developments and how Florida’s economy continues to be a beacon of opportunity and prosperity.

As a one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economic and financial health, Florida's Bottom Line is CFO Atwater's award-winning, in-depth quarterly economic newsletter.

The accompanying Florida's Bottom Line website will keep you updated with the latest statistics on Florida's economy. Special reports, infographics and past editions are archived on the website for easy access.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s economy growing faster than nation; state GDP increases 3.1 percent in 2015
Florida’s real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 3.1 percent in 2015, higher than the national average of 2.4 percent. Florida’s private sector grew 3.7 percent over the year, also faster than the national average of 2.8 percent. Compared across the 50 states, Florida had the seventh highest real GDP growth, and the fifth highest private sector real GDP growth in 2015.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Small business optimism rose in May
Small business optimism rose last month according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Of the ten components that make up the index, four of them decreased over the month, four increased, and two remained unchanged.
Source: National Federation of Independent Business