FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2013
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT -- EMPLOYEE BONUSES
Setting the record straight on Tampa Bay Times coverage of employee bonuses within the Department's regulatory programs division.
CLAIM: "DEP to grease growth machine with bonuses for those quick to approve projects"
1) The criteria for employee bonuses was saving taxpayer dollars, meeting performance expectations, improving customer service and the time to process permits.
- The time to process a permit -- whether the permit is issued or denied -- is not the same as approving permits.
- No employees are getting bonuses because they are approving permits faster, but rather processing permits more efficiently based on improved processes throughout regulatory programs.
2) Employees were not aware of this plan until the Joint Legislative Budget Commission's agenda was posted online.
- Employees have continued to issue permits protective of the environment and upholding the Department's stringent environmental standards without knowing a bonus plan had been proposed.
- The Department issues or denies permits in accordance with the law, ensuring the protection of the state's natural resources.