Saturday, September 22, 2012

Glades Commissioners Apologizes For Vote

Vote For Company Where Son Was Connected Will Be Rescinded Says Storter Long

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County Commissioner Donna Storter Long has published a letter to her constituents. She explained she voted for employing a private architectural company where her son worked as a "sub-consultant" and says now she should have declared a conflict of interest and not voted on the issue.

The commissioner's open letter:

"Glades County is receiving $5million to construct an EOC-Emergency Operations Center- which will have multi-uses, including housing offices and equipment storage for our EMS and Fire Dept. Some of the BoCC’s first steps in the process include selecting an architect and construction management.

"At our last meeting, in accordance with Florida Statutes, our County Manager and County Attorney conducted the process for the four commissioners present to “rank” our choices and the combination of our ranking scores determined who the most preferred consultant would be.

"We had three choices for construction management and six choices for architect.

"The top choices were Ajax Construction and Architect Design Group.

"One of the architects, who was ranked second choice, has protested the BoCC selection claiming that I voted for my “son’s company”. Of the six architects being ranked, none of them are my “son’s company”, my son is employed by an engineering firm.

"Before I prioritized my ranking of architects, I talked at length with Glades County Public Safety Director Bob Jones whose clear choice was Architect Design Group who designed the EOC infrastructures in Okeechobee County and Osceola County as well as 35+ more in Florida. I contacted Okeechobee Co and Osceola County for their opinion and found that both were well pleased.

"At the BoCC meeting, Commissioner Paul Beck, Commissioner Russell Echols and I all three ranked Architect Design Group as number 1. All of us, including the County Manager and County Attorney knew that my son’s employer is listed with Architect Design Group as one of several sub-consultants.

"Since the protest was received, I consulted with our County Attorney Richard Pringle who at the meeting made no comment about inappropriate ranking, nor did County Manager Taylor who is the contact source for the protesting architect.

"Subsequently to the protest, Mr. Pringle did extensive legal research and concluded that I should have declared a conflict of interest and should have abstained from voting.

"With his explanation of the law governing such matters, I stated that at the next BOCC meeting I should and would declare that conflict of interest, and would move to rescind the prior vote. Mr. Pringle told me that was his recommendation and would be the cleanest way to revert the issue back to the process of ranking architects to start over, without my participation.

"In prior rankings, when my son’s employer was responding to RFQ for engineering services, I always declared my conflict of interest and abstained from voting. That is the legal, ethical and proper thing to day and my honorable intentions have always been to comply with any such principles.

"I have conveyed to fellow commissioners that I never have and never would misuse my position of county commissioner with any conflict of interest, and this was NOT a deliberate action on my part and I’m eager to rectify the matter.

"My lack of knowledge about this matter, ignorance if you will, has created embarrassment, but the situation certainly has been a learning experience.

"When a mistake is made, it must first be acknowledged before it can be rectified. And that is why I am offering this public explanation to my constituents. My mistake was inadvertent, but it has fortified my intent to more diligently pursue my “homework” on all county business matters.

"If you have specific questions or comments about this matter, I welcome your response."


  1. I, Donna Storter Long, did NOT as stated in the opening remarks of this article, "inadvertently voted for a employing a private architectural company where her son worked." My son does NOT work for an architectural firm, he is employed by an engineering firm. I voted/ranked architects.

  2. Anonymous7:31 PM

    It seems to me it was an honest misjudgment by Ms. Storter . Maybe if she didn't vote he would've got the position with no harm done anyway. I appreciate that she is brave enough to admit she's human and not perfect. I wish there was more of that genuineness in this world. Interesting story !

  3. Anonymous5:44 AM

    Hats off to Storter Long for learning from this situation.

    Hats off to the person that made the protest of the selection process.

  4. Anonymous7:46 PM

    "Hats off to the person that made the protest of the selection process." ?????????????????

    Do you really think Mr. Taylor is going to admit this...NOT is this lifetime......

    There had better not be one person who has any realtionship to any member of the BOCC work on any phase of this job. If anyone makes one dime it needs to be reported and this job stopped and that contractor be removed.

    This is so dumb--You only have a select small group to pick from and with a county full of inbred residents rather hard to find one with some member working at one...Get real folks...Not like her son was the owner of the firm...Plus how the heck to tell a contactor who he can or can not sub work out to...Get real..

    Mr Taylor is not time for you to go fishing???