The Florida League of Cities, the united voice for Florida’s municipal governments, recently recognized State Senator Gary Farmer with a 2021 Legislative Appreciation Award for his work during the 2021 Legislative Session to protect the Home Rule authority of Florida’s municipalities. [Read more…] about Florida League of Cities Honors Senator Farmer with 2021 Legislative Appreciation Award
Florida League of Cities
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis today spoke out against the Florida League of Cities letter to Governor Ron DeSantis requesting that he veto a bill which passed unanimously to provide cancer coverage to Florida firefighters: [Read more…] about CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis: Florida League of Cities is Failing First Responders Yet Again
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis today provided an analysis of a report commissioned by the Florida League of Cities on legislation that would allow first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) access to mental health benefits to members of the Senate Appropriations and House Government Accountability Committees. Below please find a statement from CFO Patronis and a copy of the analysis memorandum.
“Florida League of Cities lobbyists have, at every step of the legislative committee process, vehemently opposed a measure that would allow Florida’s first responders to seek treatment for PTSD. Their opposition comes despite the fact that this measure has passed every House and Senate committee unanimously. Florida League of Cities lobbyists have now gone further to commission a report, wrought with flawed and erroneous data, to support why they don’t care about the first responders who make up the communities they represent.
“Our analysis revealed that not only does the report reflect a minimal impact, but there are outrageous and absurd assumptions made to skew opinion on this important issue. Knowingly peddling a deceptive report to defeat a measure that would allow first responders suffering from PTSD to get help is nothing short of disgraceful. Firefighters, for example, have a suicide attempt rate five times the general adult population. Suicide is not a solution.
“As we discuss increasing mental health resources in response to the Parkland tragedy, it would be shameful if an inaccurate report prevented our first responders, who struggle to deal with the immense psychological and emotional toll of their job, from getting the help they deserve.
“To combat the attempt by the Florida League of Cities lobbyists to derail this life or death issue, at my direction the Division of Workers’ Compensation analyzed their report and uncovered shocking flaws.”
To: Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and House Government Accountability Committee
From: Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis
Date: Monday, February 26, 2018
Subject: Analysis of Florida League of Cities’ Study on House Bill 227
Currently, Florida’s workers’ compensation system does not cover mental injuries for first responders unless accompanied by a physical injury. House Bill 227 and Senate Bill 376 aim to make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a covered treatment for first responders under workers’ compensation without requiring a physical injury. Below please find CFO Patronis’ Division of Workers’ Compensation (“Division”) analysis of a report commissioned by the Florida League of Cities. The analysis was conducted on February 23, 2018 after a request for the report had been made.
Invented Worst-Case Scenarios. The Florida League of Cities’ report overestimates the amount of time a first responder could be out of work by nearly six times the Florida standard. The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) Florida CompScope report indicates the average duration for a typical Florida lost-time claim to be 11 to 13 weeks, while the Florida League of Cities’ report estimates 6 to 18 months. The Florida League of Cities report uses each and every “worst case scenario” possible to estimate the cost of lost wages (indemnity), and assumes first responders will always receive the highest disability amount available. The Florida League of Cities also ignores the effect of return-to-work programs on mitigating indemnity costs. First responders may return to work in another role while remaining at the same pay or are able to work in a different capacity at a reduced salary. In this situation, the first responder will receive temporary partial benefits, which will offset some of the differential in pre-and post-injury salary amounts.
Absurd Assumptions about Eligibility. The report assumes that 100 percent of first responderseligible to receive benefits will seek treatment and immediately begin “out of work” status. Testimony and first responder behavior demonstrate that this assumption is grossly overstated. By using this assumption, local governments would also have to expect to replace every single one of their first responder employees, which is absurd.
Assumes Costs are Immediate. The Florida League of Cities’ report seems to present that costs will all be immediately realized. The cost estimates presented in the report represent the total costs paid out over the life of the claim, which can take several years and often vary year to year.
Uncertainty. The Florida League of Cities’ report is unable to actually predict with certainty the fiscal impact of the bill because of the vast variations in the data for the possible total cost to local governments. By the Division’s calculations, there is a 587 percent difference between the central cost estimates and the lowest cost estimate, and a 195 percent difference between the central cost estimates and highest cost estimate.
Report Reflects Minimal Impact. Even if one were to believe the exaggerated assumptions and data choices, the impact to local governments still only represents .08 percent (low severity) to 1.58 percent (high severity) of the current budgets of the largest users of the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has recognized the Florida Municipal Investment Trust (FMIvT), the Florida Municipal Loan Council (FMLC), the Florida Municipal Pension Trust Fund (FMPTF) and the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) with Certificates of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management
This is the eighth consecutive submission for the FMIvT, the sixth consecutive submissions for FMLC and FMPTF and the fourth consecutive submission for the FMIT to the GFOA’s award program.
The Florida Municipal Loan Council (FMLC) offers local governments of all sizes a variety of funding options to finance capital projects, renovations, fixed assets additions and land purchases or to refinance existing debt. The FMLC works with a team of professionals and advisors to provide greater market access and lower financing costs for its borrowers. For more information, visit http://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/financial-services.
The Florida Municipal Pension Trust Fund (FMPTF) was established in 1983 for the purpose of collectively managing employee retirement plans of participating Florida governments. The Fund operates as a non-profit, tax-exempt entity that provides professional and cost-effective investment and administrative services for all types of retirement plans. For more information, visit http://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/financial-services.
The Florida Municipal Investment Trust (FMIvT) is a local government investment pool administered by the Florida League of Cities, Inc. The FMIVT is an inter-local governmental entity created under the laws of the State of Florida and an Authorized Investment under Sec. 163.01 Florida Statutes. For more information, visit http://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/financial-services.
The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) offers workers’ compensation, liability, property and health insurance to Florida’s local governments. The Florida League of Cities Insurance and Financial Services Department is the administrator of the FMIT. The League established its first insurance program in 1977 to address the concerns of Florida’s municipal governments for affordable insurance and continues to tailor insurance coverage to the unique needs of public entities. For more information, visit http://insurance.flcities.com/default.aspx.
Resolution also commends Florida Division of
Emergency Management for ongoing efforts
The Florida League of Cities Board of Directors today announced a resolution thanking Gov. Rick Scott, his executive team, and the Florida Division of Emergency Management for their tireless efforts and dedication leading Florida through preparations, response, and recovery associated with Hurricane Irma.
The resolution recognizes Gov. Scott for his steady guidance throughout Irma, including constant updates to Florida residents and consistent communication with municipal leaders in order to keep their communities safe.
Governor Rick Scott said, “I appreciate the Florida League of Cities for this resolution. Our first responders, volunteers and emergency management professionals are the ones who deserve all of the credit for the preparations, response and ongoing recovery from Hurricane Irma.”
The League of Cities also commended the governor for the plans and actions he executed to assist Florida residents with evacuation and preparedness efforts throughout Irma. For example, Gov. Scott worked with the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend tolls across the state to make it easier for residents to evacuate and emergency responders to get to locations where they were needed.
The Florida League of Cities acknowledged how accessible both the governor and the Division of Emergency Management were for expediting discussions, solutions, and advice to help local government officials meet the needs for their cities. The League specifically praised recently departed DEM Director Bryan Koon, who left that position after Irma had passed, for his efforts.
Workshops to cover opioid epidemic, 5G wireless
infrastructure, cyber security, disaster recovery
The Florida League of Cities will hold its 91st Annual Conference on August 17-20 at the World Center Marriott in Orlando. This year’s conference will feature workshops and speakers to help municipalities prevent, neutralize, and respond to possible threats to their communities.
“My year-long presidential initiative ‘Safe Cities, Safe Florida’ has focused on developing training and resources to help local leaders build safer communities,” said Florida League of Cities President and Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie. “Be it a hurricane, tornado, active shooter, sinkhole, or wildfire, cities are on the front line of protecting their residents during a crisis. No two cities in Florida are exactly the same, but regardless of the issues we face, we can work together to create safer communities for all of Florida.”
This year’s conference will provide attendees with tools to help Florida cities address some of the most pressing issues facing them, including the opioid epidemic, road safety, disaster recovery, and cyber security. Keynote speakers include former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who will recap the day he lost several officers to an active shooter and describe how the city recovered and lessons learned from the tragedy.
Conference attendees will also hear keynote presentations from National League of Cities President Matt Zone, a Cleveland, Ohio, city council member; and J.M. “Mac” Stipanovich, a prominent Florida attorney who represents the Florida League of Cities, as well as other individuals and entities, before state government agencies, the governor and Cabinet, and the Legislature.
Workshops on topics ranging from social advocacy and wireless communication infrastructure to city ballot initiatives and Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission will provide valuable information to help city officials from municipalities of all sizes. Technical assistance and resource materials will be available in the Municipal Marketplace throughout the conference.
At the new Grants Expo, attendees will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from various federal, state, and nonprofit organizations about their grant programs, including housing, historic preservation, emergency management, and economic development.
During the annual conference, members of the League’s Legislative Committee will discuss and present the organization’s legislative priorities for the 2018 legislative session for approval by the membership. Approved items will become the League’s 2018 Action Agenda.
Registration will be available on site. Members of the media are welcome.
The Florida League of Cities today issued a statement applauding Senator Rubio for introducing important legislation to protect communities that receive FEMA disaster funds. It is powerful to see Florida’s delegation united on this issue, and the League offers its full support.
“The Post-Disaster Fairness to States Act will streamline and clarify the de-obligation process by imposing a three-year cap on the period in which FEMA can seek to recover funds previously awarded to assist in disaster recovery.
“Florida’s communities accept the constant threat posed to our state by hurricanes and other natural disasters, but they should not be forced to live at risk of a drawn out bureaucratic process that is confusing and inconsistent.
“In the aftermath of a disaster, Florida’s municipalities do heroic work restoring order to their communities, and the value of help from agencies like FEMA is impossible to calculate. We applaud Senators Rubio and Nelson, Representatives Frankel and Diaz-Balart and Florida’s other congressional members, for their steadfast support on this matter.”
Dade City, First Place: Cinco De Mayo Parade, by Reyes Figueroa
The Florida League of Cities announced the following youth councils as winners of its inaugural Community Service and Photography Municipal Youth Council Competitions.
- First Place – City of Niceville’s Youth Advisory Council—Niceville City Cleanup
- Second Place – City of West Palm Beach’s Mayor’s Youth Council—Grassy Waters Everglades Preserve
- Third Place – City of St. Petersburg’s Mayor’s Youth Congress—Scrubbin’ Da Burg
- First Place – City of Dade City’s Youth Council: Cinco De Mayo Parade, by Reyes Figueroa
- Second Place – City of Port Orange’s Youth Advisory Board: City Center Road in Black & White, by Emma Dominguez
- Third Place – City of Gulfport’s Teen Council: Clymer Park, by Cameron Althaus
Links to photos and summary of winning projects are available online here.
“The League’s new youth council contests are a great way to showcase the benefits of engaging the next generation in local government activities,” said Susan Haynie, president of the Florida League of Cities and mayor of the City of Boca Raton. “I believe it is important to expose young people to civic education at an early age so they can understand the scope of municipal services and can become more engaged citizens in the future. It is wonderful to see our cities’ youth councils already working hard to better their communities.”
The photography contest encouraged youth council members to take a picture of something that tells the story of why they love their city. Each photo had to be the applicant’s original work and accompanied by a brief statement of how that photo depicts the reason they love their city.
The community service or volunteer contest focused on a youth council project for a specific single citywide effort to successfully address a local need. In 500 words or less, applicants described their project in detail and told how it was timely, innovative, effective, successful, cost-effective, and adaptable. The applicant could also include five pages of supportive materials, such as news articles, letters of support, and more.
Winners will receive a trophy, monetary award, and recognition at the League of Cities Annual Conference. They will also be featured in the League’s statewide publication, Quality Cities (QC) magazine, and will have their win presented on the League’s website and Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Youth councils are organizations composed of students, and may also serve as an advisory board to a city commission/council. Many times, these students are selected to serve based on their leadership potential or their desire to learn more about their community and give back through volunteer service.
For additional information on youth councils, visit the League’s Youth Council Resources page at http://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/resources/youth-councils.
Four Florida cities have been recognized as winners of the Florida League of Cities’ 9th Annual Florida Municipal Achievement Awards:
- The City of Oldsmar has won the City Spirit Award
- The City of Melbourne has won the Florida Citizenship Award
- The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea & the City of Fort Myers have won the Environmental Stewardship Award
“For nearly a decade, the Florida Municipal Achievement Awards have been recognizing excellence and innovation in local government programs. Florida’s municipalities are known for utilizing creative solutions and new ideas to better serve the citizens of our cities and these awards honor the best of the best,” said Susan Haynie, who is president of the Florida League of Cities and serves as mayor of the City of Boca Raton. “Congratulations to the winning cities for their outstanding programs that have earned the prestigious Florida Municipal Achievement Award!”
The City Spirit Award recognizes a single, specific citywide effort to successfully address a local need. The City of Oldsmar’s winning entry, Oldsmar’s People Centennial, showcased how the city and its citizens worked together in 2016 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Oldsmar by Ransom Eli Olds—the inventor of the Oldsmobile and REO automobiles. Scores of citizens, businesses, and civic organizations partnered with the city to organize numerous events tailored toward its diverse community. The collaboration culminated in an event for citizens of all ages that displayed Oldsmar’s true City Spirit.
The Florida Citizenship Award focuses on city projects or programs that build stronger, more participative residents. The programs increase civic awareness, education, and knowledge, and promote active participation in city government among residents. The City of Melbourne’s winning entry, Outreach & Sponsorship Program, was launched in 2015 to increase awareness, promote active participation in recreation programs, and increase the use of city parks. Local businesses have partnered with the city in this effort and the program has dramatically increased Melbourne residents’ desire to “get out and play” and take pride in their city’s parks.
The Environmental Stewardship Award focuses on city programs that promote conservation, improve and protect environmental conditions, and/or provide environmental education and outreach programs within a city. This year two cities tied for the win in the Environmental Stewardship Award category: the Town of Lauderdale-By-the Sea and the City of Fort Myers. The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s coastal environmental protection program has two main components: planting sea oats to build up beach-protecting sand dunes, and transplanting staghorn corals to local reefs to create additional underwater habitats. Among other things, this has mitigated beach erosion and improved coastal resiliency to help maintain vital sea turtle habitat. The City of Fort Myers River Basin is 1.5-acre multi-functional water detention/retention area that treats urban storm water runoff from the City’s 15-acre downtown, reducing the total nitrogen load entering the river. Additionally, the picturesque basin is sparking economic development along the 1,200 linear feet of new waterfront property into downtown, providing a focal point for downtown events, reducing the urban heat island, and offering opportunities for community education and passive recreation.
The winning cities will each receive a trophy, along with special recognition at a commission meeting and at the League’s annual conference. They will also be featured in the League’s award-winning magazine, Quality Cities (QC), and on the League’s website and social media outlets.
Florida League of Cities Recognizes 21
Legislators for Home Rule Advocacy Efforts
The Florida League of Cities honored the following Florida legislators with the organization’s Legislative Appreciation Awards for their tireless efforts to protect the home rule authority of Florida’s cities by supporting the League’s legislative agenda during the 2017 regular legislative session.
Special recognition goes to the League’s Defenders of Home Rule, Sen. Jeff Clemens and Rep. Danny Burgess, for consistently leading the fight to preserve Home Rule during the legislative session.
“On behalf of Florida’s 412 cities and thousands of municipal officials, both elected and appointed, the Florida League of Cities and its advocacy team are proud to recognize these home rule advocates for their continued support,” said Florida League of Cities Legislative Director Scott Dudley. “We believe the government closest to the people should make the decisions affecting the quality of life of the citizens they have been elected to represent. These hardworking legislators continually supported that ideal, and we owe them a great deal of thanks.”
Legislative Appreciation Award recipients are legislators who advocate on behalf of the League and its member cities time after time. These lawmakers consistently voted in support of League positions, offered amendments to help prevent pre-emptions and unfunded mandates, and/or worked behind the scenes to rally support for League positions during the 2017 legislative session.
Defenders of Home Rule
Sen. Jeff Clemens, Lake Worth
Rep. Danny Burgess, Zephyrhills
Freshman Legislative Appreciation Award Recipients
Sen. Gary Farmer, Fort Lauderdale
Rep. Kamia Brown, Ocoee
Rep. Mel Ponder, Fort Walton Beach
Legislative Appreciation Award Recipients
Sen. Aaron Bean, Jacksonville
Sen. Audrey Gibson, Jacksonville
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, Naples
Sen. Bobby Powell, West Palm Beach
Sen. Perry Thurston, Fort Lauderdale
Rep. Loranne Ausley, Tallahassee
Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, Miami
Rep. Bobby DuBose, Fort Lauderdale
Rep. Joe Geller, Dania Beach
Rep. Bill Hager, Boca Raton
Rep. Don Hahnfeldt, The Villages
Rep. Shawn Harrison, Tampa
Rep. Mike Miller, Orlando
Rep. George Moraitis, Fort Lauderdale
Rep. Kathleen Peters, St. Petersburg
Rep. Richard Stark, Weston
Founded in 1922, the Florida League of Cities is the united voice for Florida’s municipal governments. Its goals are to promote local self-government and serve the needs of Florida’s cities. Florida’s cities are formed by their citizens and governed by their citizens. The League is founded on the belief that local self-government is the keystone of American democracy. For more information, visit www.floridaleagueofcities.com.