Inquiry urged into privatization
Attorney general candidate Walter Campbell says the privacy of state workers may have been compromised.
By AARON SHAROCKMAN
Published May 10, 2006
FEATHER SOUND - A Democrat running for attorney general on Tuesday again called for an investigation whether the privacy of state workers was compromised when their personnel files were shipped to India in an outsourcing deal backed by Gov. Jeb Bush.
State Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell, D-Tamarac, told the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club that state Attorney General Charlie Crist has failed to properly investigate the privatization of personnel records for more than 100,000 state employees, including judges and state troopers.
Campbell is the lone Democrat running to replace Crist, who is running for governor. Four Republicans, including state Rep. Everett Rice of Indian Shores, are running for the GOP nod. "We don't know if a crime's been committed. We don't know anything about where the information is," Campbell said. "We talk about terrorism, I can think of nothing better, if I was a terrorist, than knowing the identity of police officers and judges were available in India for the state of Florida.
"Don't you think that's something the attorney general would want to jump on?" Campbell asked.
"It's sounds like he's not informed," Crist said of Campbell's remarks. "We're in the case. We've been following it for the last year."
Crist said his office recently was included in a whistle-blower lawsuit against the private contractor, Convergys, alleging that the company failed to secure state employees' personal information.
The records were privatized as part of a $350-million state contract that was supposed to create 2,000 jobs in Florida, Campbell said. Instead, subcontractors working for Convergys moved the work to India, drawing the ire of lawmakers and Bush.
The contract has also been plagued by recurring problems, ranging from paychecks being issued overdue, to lower-than-anticipated cost savings, to allegations of identity theft, to a critical state audit of the project.
An ethics complaint against Crist for failing to investigate the Convergys was dismissed last month.
[Last modified May 10, 2006, 01:07:05]
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