“We agree with you,’’ DJJ’s chief of staff, Christy Daly, told the committee.
Sen. Mike Bennett, a Bradenton Republican and a key Senate leader, also recommended the contract face competition and urged the agency to consider cutting out the middleman.
DJJ plans to seek bids for that program but, to stave off more legislative intervention, Walters has formally asked the governor’s office for advice.
In a letter Tuesday to the governor’s budget director, Jerry McDaniels, she said, “DJJ has determined that there is no authority in the existing contract to expand services” and “seeks to determine the legislative intent regarding procurement of these additional services.”
Walters declined to discuss the controversial contract with the Herald/Times, but said in a statement she remains committed to “competitive procurement of services to treat troubled youth in the agency’s care.’’
Tsamoutales said Tuesday there was “no intention on the Legislature’s part” to put the contract out for a bid and “the governor’s office went along” because “the program has saved taxpayers millions over the course of this contract.”
He said the Legislature’s reason for adding the extra $6 million was “expanding the contract would expand the savings.”
Storms, who announced this spring that she will not seek reelection to the Senate, called the situation “just nauseating.”
“We are giving money to people who are not producing the right [results],’’ Storms told The Herald/Times, “and we are pouring in millions of dollars.”