“Patronis helps state weather the storms”
Panama City News Herald
Story by John Henderson
October 29, 2017
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Jimmy Patronis has been a traveling man since he began his job as the state’s chief financial officer on July 1. In fact, at the rate he’s going, his on-the-job mileage by November will match the earth’s circumference.
Since starting the job, Patronis has driven to all corners of the state, urging people to get their insurance information in order before hurricanes Irma and Nate and helping them avoid contractor fraud after them.
Florida’s CFO oversees the state’s accounting and auditing functions and unclaimed property, monitors the investment of state funds and manages the risk management program for the state. The CFO also handles licensing and oversight of insurance agents and agencies, as well as funeral homes and cemeteries.
The CFO also oversees insurance fraud investigations, workers’ compensation coverage and serves as state fire marshal and a member of the Florida Cabinet.
As CFO, Patronis is in charge of the state’s checkbooks while overseeing an agency with about 2,000 employees and a budget of $298 million.
After the storms, he traveled to areas hit by the storm, advising residents on how to expedite their economic recovery. He said before the storm left the state line, he and his team in a 24-hour period made stops in Tampa and the counties of Charlotte, Manatee, Lee, Hendry, Orange and Duval.
“We were helping people understand how to respond,” he said. “But more importantly, warning them of the fraud that follows a storm.”
Patronis said he’s learned a lot about the job in the four months in office, including the excellent condition of the state’s finances.
“Because of the credit worthiness of the state and what we have in keeping cash reserves, it has allowed the state to borrow money really almost cheaper than any other state in the union,” he said. “In the time since Gov. Scott has taken office, there have been billions of dollars in savings just in interest payments, and that’s real money that goes to education, health care, roads, infrastructure.”