Florida lawmaker asks governor to remove FDOT secretary over handling of SunPass

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Monday, August 13, 2018

A Florida lawmaker wants the Florida Department of Transportation secretary out. That is the latest news in the SunPass saga that has been going on since at least June after a contractor has come under fire for the alleged mishandling of tens of millions of toll transactions in its new Combined Customer Service Center.

On Aug. 9, Rep. Kristin Jacobs, D-Coconut Creek, sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, requesting the removal of FDOT Secretary Mike Dew. Jacobs’ letter to the governor comes after three previous letters to Dew went unanswered.

According to Jacobs’ letter to the governor, the Broward County lawmaker sent Dew a letter on July 17 with “a long series of questions and request for information” regarding the SunPass contract with Conduent. Jacobs sent two follow-up letters on July 24 and Aug. 1. Three weeks after the original letter to Dew, Jacobs has yet to receive a response.

“Your hand-picked leader to oversee our state’s Transportation Department is willfully acting in subordination of these requests,” Jacobs wrote in the letter to Gov. Scott. “The disrespect this secretary has shown is beyond reproach.”

Jacobs then referred to Article IV of the Florida Constitution, which gives the governor power to remove an appointed official for incompetence. She called Dew’s lack of accountability and transparency “categorically unacceptable.”

The letter comes shortly after two U.S. senators urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Conduent for problems involving the company’s administration and maintenance of the electronic tolling system.

FDOT could not immediately be reached for comment. However, WTSP-TV reports that Jacobs received her first response from Dew shortly after the letter was reported. Dew explained why Conduent was chosen and that the contractor has demonstrated significant improvement. According to the news report, Dew did not address questions regarding FDOT’s oversight of Conduent or the lack of response to legislative and media questions.

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