Atwater round-up: CFO gives thanks, seeks more control over state contracts and goes after lawyersby Dara Kam | November 23rd, 2011
Times may be tough but there’s still plenty to be grateful for, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater tells Floridians in a Thanksgiving video message released today.
Atwater, a North Palm Beach banker and former Senate president, says he’s thankful for his “exciting year” as the executive in charge of the state’s checkbook and he’s appreciative of the country’s military serving overseas, who “risk their lives every day so that we can enjoy the blessings that we have been afforded: our safety, our security, the ability just to spend time with our families, our friends.”
Read about Atwater’s possible face-offs with Gov. Rick Scott over state contracting and The Florida Bar over PIP after the jump.
Atwater made news this week when he released his legislative priorities, setting up a potential clash with Gov. Rick Scott over who should control the state’s contracts.
As The Associated Press reported, Atwater wants to be able to sign off on contracts before they are inked and rein in how much state agencies can spend on private vendors without competitive bidding. Most state agencies are under Scott’s purview, and shortly after taking office in January the first-term governor made it a priority to review contracts.
Atwater also may be at odds with The Florida Bar over lawyer referral services, according to a Florida Bar News report. The ban is part of Atwater’s fight against personal injury insurance fraud.
“The proliferation of referral services over the past few years and the blanketing of the state of Florida with radio, TV, and print media advertising their ‘services,’ supports an immediate and aggressive stance by the Bar,” Atwaterwrote to Bar President Scott Hawkins earlier this month. “I know that The Florida Bar is concerned with promoting the professionalism of lawyers in our state, pursuing justice, and making sure the public is neither misled nor misguided by members of the Bar. Florida’s citizens who have limited or no contact with the legal system rely upon the integrity of the legal profession and can be influenced by the pervasive advertising of these referral services.”
But The Florida Bar News reported Atwater may not get his wish:
Board of Governors member Grier Wells, who chairs the Bar’s Special Committee on Lawyer Referral Services, said Atwater may be asking too much.
“Just as we cannot regulate nonlawyers who may own referral services, the Bar cannot ban a referral service. We can make every effort to regulate attorneys who participate in referral services and to take steps to ensure that attorney participation complies with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar,” Wells said.