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JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMISSION APPROVES DEP PLAN FOR REGULATORY EMPLOYEE BONUSES

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2013

CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us

JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMISSION APPROVES DEP PLAN FOR REGULATORY EMPLOYEE BONUSES

~Employees being rewarded for innovative thinking based on taxpayer dollar savings~

TALLAHASSEE –The Joint Legislative Budget Commission -- a body of Florida senators and representatives -- today approved a plan that allows the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to provide nearly $600,000 in bonuses to 269 regulatory employees.

The Commission today voted to allow the Department to provide bonuses to regulatory employees based on creating innovative ideas to protect the environment, including how to more efficiently process permits, save taxpayer dollars and improve interactions with the public. The plan sought $571,960.71 in funds based on the nearly $9 million the Department is handing back to the Legislature from the current fiscal year's budget appropriation. Of the 269 employees, 75 percent are non-managers.

"I want to reward our high performing staff who are responsible for protecting the environment and, in large part, reducing costs for taxpayers," said Jeff Littlejohn, P.E., Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs. "We are singling out our top performers based on their success on measured performance dealing with complex environmental issues."

The Department has reverted nearly $27 million during the last two years by increasing efficiencies across the agency, including reducing office expenditures through its paperless initiative and reducing the number of vehicles in its fleet. At the same time, the Department's regulatory staff have set restoration plans affecting 250 springs and seen improvements in air quality across the state.

Additionally, the Department's compliance rate for regulated entities in 2012 was at a five-year high. Nearly 95 percent of all regulated entities are in significant compliance, comprising full compliance and minor out of compliance, such as tardy or incomplete paperwork. That's up from 86 percent in 2007.