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My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Transparency ensures accountability, and Floridians have a right to see how every penny of the money they send to their government is spent. One of the ways we are making such transparency possible is through Florida’s Accountability Contract Tracking System, also known as FACTS.

FACTS - Florida Accountability Contract Tracking SystemOn our FACTS website, you can view more than 63,000 active state contracts and 278,000 purchase orders. In addition to making this information available online, the Department of Financial Services has trained more than 3,500 contract managers in the past year while also providing assistance in the drafting of state contracts to make state contracts stronger and ensure the deliverables are clear. We have also conducted nearly 3,000 contract reviews over the past four fiscal years.

With the help of our department, more than two-thirds of Florida’s state agencies have improved their deficiency rate by writing better contracts. The latest audit of state contracts also revealed a 14 percent improvement in state contract accountability.

In 2014, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) gave Florida an A- for transparency, the third highest score in the nation and a tremendous increase from Florida’s D rating in 2011, making it the second biggest improvement in the nation from 2011 to 2014. I am proud of the work we are doing to make Florida more transparent, and I remain committed to improving on these successes.

To visit the Transparency Florida website, go to

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Ocala Star-Banner: Fire college called an 'asset' to state and area

Sun-Sentinel: South Florida small-business owners plan to hire

Orlando Sentinel: 2 Central Florida businesses win SBA awards

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Florida credit unions boost business loans

Tampa Bay Times: Survey: 'Economy and jobs' remains top issue for Floridians

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Gas prices continue to fall

Reuters: U.S. retail sales increase broadly in August

CFO Atwater Welcomes Two K-9s to the State Fire Marshal Team

Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater recently announced the addition of two new specially trained canines to the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations K-9 Unit. K-9s "Bailey" and "Booker" join five dogs trained to detect common accelerants at fire scenes.

K-9 Bailey and handler Travis Kincaid"We are proud to have such smart and talented dogs join our team and to have handlers eager to work with and care for them like family," said CFO Atwater. "Our K-9 unit has been instrumental in the arrest and prosecution of arsonists throughout Florida, and I am excited to see how these new dogs will advance our mission to make Florida a safer place to live."

K-9 Bailey, a veteran of the city of Knoxville, Tennessee, joins handler Travis Kincaid in the Pensacola office. K-9 Booker, a new recruit, joins handler Jeff Batz in the Lake Wales office. Together they join K-9 Fresca and handler David Young in Jacksonville, K-9 Penzy and handler Amelia Bowling-Hitchcock in Daytona, K-9 Brandon and handler Jayson Deese in Panama City, K-9 Ember and handler Ross Holt in Plantation, and SFM’s explosives detection K-9 Bella and her handler Monty Taylor in Lake Wales.

K-9 Booker and handler Jeff BatzK-9 Booker has already proven to be a valuable member of the K-9 unit. He recently participated in an investigation that led to the arrest of a Polk County man on charges associated with the possession of a fire bomb.

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations implemented the K-9 accelerant detection program in 1998 with financial and technical support through State Farm Insurance Company’s national Arson Dog Training Program, which has helped train more than 325 dogs to work in 44 states. This program funds scholarships used to offset the training and lodging expenses associated with each dog and handler’s five week intensive training at the Maine State Criminal Justice Academy.

Florida Economic Briefs

Retail Trade is up in second quarter
According to a census report, after-tax profits of U.S. retail corporations with assets of $50 million and over increased $7 billion from the first quarter, totaling $20.9 billion. Sales in the second quarter of 2014 were up $33.3 billion from the second quarter of 2013, and up $32.5 billion from the first quarter of 2014.
Source: U.S. Census

Real GDP increased 1.7 percent in 2013
Real GDP increased in 292 of the 381 metropolitan areas nation-wide, led largely by widespread growth in finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing. South Florida's economy grew 2.4 percent in 2013, outpacing the 1.7 percent national average for metro growth. Collectively, real GDP increased 1.7 percent in 2013.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Florida's Bottom Line - Small Business

Florida's Bottom Line - Summer 2014Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, which is why we are focused on cultivating an environment where they can continue to thrive. Florida is home to 2.3 million small businesses, which constitute nearly 99 percent of our state’s employers. These businesses are truly the heart of Florida’s economic lifeblood, employing one-in-every three working Floridians and creating nearly two-thirds of new private sector jobs statewide.

This edition of Florida’s Bottom Line highlights why Florida's small businesses must continue to grow, prosper and remain in our state for our economy to thrive. Inside, you will find keen insight from small business experts as well as a wide array of helpful resources for your small business.

Read the small business edition of Florida's Bottom Line here.

Fostering Financial Prosperity

This special issue of Florida’s Bottom Line offers an overview of the Department of Financial Services’ transparent, fiscally-sound and consumer-oriented accomplishments since 2011.

Fostering Financial Prosperity

Spanish Be Scam Smart Workshop Dates

Family Foundations Virtual Financial CityIn honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, 2014, a new initiative has been launched to promote financial literacy and fraud prevention in Florida’s Hispanic communities.

The Family Foundations initiative is part of Your Money Matter$,, which provides information on a variety of financial topics to Florida consumers.

The Operation S.A.F.E workshops and the accompanying website,, have already helped more than 12,500 Florida seniors protect themselves from becoming victims of financial fraud. Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) Be Scam Smart workshops in Spanish will be offered throughout Central and South Florida.

Spanish Be Scam Smart Workshop Dates and Locations:

  • Wednesday, September 23 in Orlando, Florida
    Renaissance Senior Center from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    3800 South Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando, FL 32829

  • Tuesday, October 7 in Miami, Florida
    Little Havana Nutrition Center from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    700 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33130

  • Wednesday, October 8 in Hialeah, Florida
    Goodlet Park Senior Center from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    900 W. 44th Street, Hialeah, FL 33012