Nova Southeastern University law and legal ethics professor Robert Jarvis said Butterworth should have registered.
We say we take seriously Government in the Sunshine. So having to register as a lobbyist is just part and parcel of that effort to make government as transparent as possible, Jarvis said.
The idea of using managing entities to privatize oversight of state substance abuse and mental health services was a DCF initiative under Butterworth, according to department documents.
The idea: to save millions of dollars in expenses that can be redirected to improving care in a state where such government-funded services have long lagged the rest of the nation.
In 2007, DCF held a public meeting to hear comment on the role and functions of a managing entity in advance of a planned procurement in southeast Florida, records say.
Last fall, DCF Secretary David Wilkins announced an intent to negotiate for the job of managing entity for Broward.
He said he expected a significant number of qualified nonprofit organizations to submit sealed bids. But there were only two bidders: Broward Behavioral and the Partnership for Community Health.
The Partnership was ranked higher by six of the states eight evaluators.
Broward Behavioral was deemed to be nonresponsive because it did not include required paperwork to demonstrate its financial stability.
Nevertheless, as DCF general counsel Marion Drew Parker has put it, a wrinkle in the competitive process allowed DCF to scrap the idea of sealed bids.
Negotiations started over, now with just a single DCF employee instead of a committee charged with recommending a winner, and Broward Behavioral came out on top.
The deal was delayed when the Partnership filed a 22-page bid protest alleging, among other things, that the contract award was illegally steered to Butterworths group.
DCF quickly denied the protest. The Partnership sued, but an appeals panel dismissed the case in August because the Partnership had not posted the required protest bond
The underlying corruption allegations were not addressed. A spokesman for DCF has denied any impropriety.
Broward Bulldog reported last week that DCF awarded the contract to Butterworths group without required rules in place to promote public scrutiny.