Volume 5 Number 27
July 4, 2008
Tomorrow, our country celebrates the
232nd anniversary of our nation’s founding. On July 4, 1776,
the Declaration of Independence was signed by our
forefathers with a bold promise to secure the rights to
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As Floridians from the Panhandle to the Keys gather tomorrow
to honor our country with parades, picnics, family
gatherings and fireworks displays, it is important to
celebrate safely. Community-sponsored, professional
fireworks offer exciting displays and guarantee your safety.
CFO Sink, as the State Fire Marshal, is urging Floridians
and visitors to remember that all fireworks can be
dangerous. Our Web site offers a list of hundreds of
state-approved sparklers for an exciting show, located at
This weekend is a time to reflect on the promises of our
forefathers and recognize that we live in a great, free, and
prosperous country. Let us also pay special tribute to those
who have and are now serving our country in uniform to
protect our founders' promise.
Happy Fourth of July!
Senator Charlie Justice and CFO Sink discuss My Safe
Florida Home at the press conference in Pinellas
400,000 INSPECTIONS AND 35,000
GRANTS LATER, MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME SIGN-UPS COME TO AN END
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that the
My Safe Florida Home program will meet the Florida
Legislature’s goal of approving 400,000 homeowners for free
wind inspections a full year ahead of schedule. The program
will cease to take new applications in the next few days.
In 2007, the Florida Legislature directed the MSFH program
to provide inspections for at least 400,000 site-built,
single-family, residential properties and provide grants to
at least 35,000 applicants before June 30, 2009. The popular
first-come, first-serve program is averaging over 5,000 new
sign-ups a day leading up to today’s announcement and
previously met grant goals in May.
“When the Florida Legislature created the My Safe Florida
Home program, their intent was to create a culture of
mitigation in our state,” said CFO Alex Sink. “Almost half a
million homes later, homeowners served by this program are
better informed and most are better prepared for the next
CFO SINK AND EMERGENCY MANAGERS URGE
FIREWORKS SAFETY THIS FOURTH OF JULY
Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink today
joined State Emergency Management officials in urging Floridians to observe
fire safety rules and follow fireworks laws as they celebrate this Fourth of
“As we gather this Friday to celebrate America’s Independence, I urge
Floridians and visitors to take the proper fire safety precautions to
protect themselves and their loved ones,” said CFO Sink. “All fireworks can
be dangerous, and that makes it all the more crucial the public utilize only
state-approved fireworks for their celebrations.”
Nearly 10,000 Americans were treated for fireworks-related injuries in
emergency rooms last year. In Florida alone, fire departments responded to
137 fires related to fireworks and sparklers, resulting in more than
$400,000 in damages during 2007.
“The Fourth of July is a time for Floridians to come together and enjoy
family and friends, but unfortunately many end up visiting emergency rooms,”
said State Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate. “We want our
residents and visitors to celebrate safely this weekend.”
Idea of the Week
a discount for paying cash for gas
The next time you fill up
your car's gas tank, paying with cash might get you a
discount from the gas station.
With gas prices way up, bigger profits are not particularly
coming to gas station owners. Station owners must pay a
credit card fee of 1.5 percent to 3 percent of the total
purchase price when a credit card is used. With the current
high gas prices more drivers are paying with plastic and the
credit card fees are taken out of station owners' profits.
Discounts of five to 14 cents a gallon are being offering to
cash-paying customers at about 500 gas stations in 23
states. Some stations have stopped accepting credit cards
Cash deals can be found in
Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York,
New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, so far.
Expect more stations to join this plan. The National
Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) member stores are
looking at the discount idea to see what can be done.
To find stations offering cash-payment discounts, call local
gas stations, local TV or radio stations or check with web
sites like GasBuddy.com,
a consumer advocacy web
site that tracks gas prices through the reports of volunteer
gas price spotters.
Keep in mind that gas discounts won't save you money if you
have to drive more than five miles out of your way to find
CFO SINK: PENSACOLA MAN FACING 30 YEARS IN PRISON FOR
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the arrest of Melvin Toler,
51, of Toler Concrete, Inc. on June 23 for operating without required workers'
An investigation on Toler uncovered that he had knowingly avoided his obligation
to pay workers’ compensation coverage on employees in his masonry business.
Toler was arrested Monday on second degree felony charges of working without
workers’ compensation coverage and knowing violation of a stop-work order. He is
currently being held in the Escambia County jail.
If convicted, Toler could face a possible 30 years in prison, $20,000 dollars in
fines and restitution of more than $89,000 for the pending second-degree felony
Stay Safe in High Water
Wear an approved personal
flotation device when
working in or around water.
Do not walk in floodwaters.
Supervise children closely. Do
not allow them near high
water, storm drains or other
Observe all hazard warnings
Take the recommended
routes—do not try shortcuts.
PREPAREDNESS IN THE WORKPLACE
If you have never
experienced a serious emergency in your workplace, you might
find it hard to imagine such a thing could happen.
However, every day in job settings something goes seriously
It could be a fire, fatal injury, flood, earthquake,
shooting, hurricane, tornado, chemical spill or another kind
of crisis. Whether everyone survives and escapes injury
depends on how well they are prepared for an emergency.
Are you prepared to survive a workplace emergency? You
should be receiving regular training and practice dealing
with the types of emergencies most likely to occur where you
The first survival tool is knowledge. You need to know what
can go wrong. Are hazardous chemicals stored or transported
near your workplace? Is your workplace an essential service
or a high-profile setting that could be targeted by
terrorists? Are you located in a tornado zone or a natural
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION TRANSFER SET TO
IMPROVE SERVICES FOR INJURED WORKERS
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink commended the
Florida Legislature for the successful passage of House Bill
5045. The bill went into effect Monday and transfers the
Workers’ Compensation Medical Services Unit from the Agency
for Health Care Administration to the Department of
Financial Services, Division of Workers’ Compensation. The
bill was sponsored by Rep. Ron Reagan (D-Sarasota) and
signed by the Governor on June 10, 2008.
“It is imperative that medical treatment is provided
effectively and in a manner that allows injured workers to
return to work as quickly possible, pays health care
providers adequately, and minimizes costs to employers,”
said CFO Sink. “With the transfer, the Division’s regulatory
ability to effect positive change in the workers’
compensation medical benefit delivery system will be
The Workers’ Compensation Medical Services Unit is
responsible for certifying workers’ compensation health care
providers and expert medical advisors, ensuring appropriate
utilization of medical treatment, resolving disputes from
health care providers contesting carriers’ reimbursement
decisions, and developing reimbursement manuals for health
For more information about the Division of Workers’
http://www.myfloridacfo.com/wc/ or call 850-413-1601.
For injured worker assistance, call 1-800-342-1741.