Tampa Bay Times by Mary Ellen Klas
July 26, 2018
A not-for-profit health care company that lost a bid to renew its Medicaid contract with the state had a question for Gov. Rick Scott: Where can we find you?
They asked his staff to send them a copy of his schedule — in the office and on the campaign trail — for the next three months so they could talk to him about their concerns.
They argued that documents, compiled and recorded by taxpayer-paid staff and followed by the state’s top executive, his security entourage and other people on the state payroll, are public record and ought to be available for anyone in the state to see.
But the governor’s office wouldn’t turn them over, claiming the calendars — even those already sent to the public — are exempt from public disclosure.
On Thursday, Aids Healthcare Foundation filed a lawsuit against Scott, accusing the Republican governor of violating the Florida public records law. They are asking the Leon County Circuit Court to order him to produce the records or, at least, review the records behind closed doors to determine whether the governor is right to keep them exempt.
“We have a right to know: Is he meeting with pharmaceutical companies, with for-profit insurance companies? Is he out playing golf, or is he representing the people?” asked Imara Canady, spokesman for the Aids Healthcare Foundation which operates the Florida health care provider that lost the bid to renew its contract. “From where we stand, this is not an unfair request.”