Governor's Office scrutinizes contracts

Published May 12, 2007

Gov. Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said Friday they are both committed to scrutinizing the state's contracts and ones with problems - like the just canceled public service campaign to heighten hurricane awareness - could soon be gone.

Public relations veteran Ron Sachs, who has built a multimillion-dollar business after leaving the administration of Gov. Lawton Chiles a decade ago, was initially awarded the $450, 000 contract. Similar projects have been handled by the Florida Association of Broadcasters since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Florida Association of Broadcasters president Pat Roberts and Tallahassee media executive Mike Vasilinda's production company protested, creating doubt in Crist's mind about the deal.

Chris Des Marais, senior producer for Vasilinda's production company, said it had the low bid by nearly $170, 000.

"It just didn't sound right to me, " Crist said about the hurricane contract.

"It's supposed to be a public service after all.

"Sometimes people just do things because that's the way it's always been done before and that's not a good enough reason for me or the taxpayer, more importantly, " Crist said.

The governor and CFO said they are opposed to no-bid or sole-source deals.

"They need to know there's a new sheriff in town, a new culture, " Sink said Friday. "We have thousands of state contracts. We have to look at them starting with the biggest ones first."