The Florida Department of Transportation’s Inspector General is set to release a report stating that PSTA’s Greenlight Pinellas educational outreach is in full compliance with state law on public communications.
“We are thankful for the very thorough review by the Inspector General, and commend him and his staff for their diligence,” said Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority CEO Brad Miller. “PSTA always strives to be a responsible steward of taxpayer money, whether keeping nearly 200 buses on time daily or educating Pinellas residents about their transit options.
And because PSTA believes in full transparency, we will be posting the Inspector General’s final report on our own website at GreenlightPinellas.com, where anyone can view the report.”
The report indicated there is no evidence that Greenlight Pinellas communications violated any law, or used any state funding. Excerpts of the report are below.
On the report’s findings:
“We reviewed expenditures for the Greenlight Pinellas campaign to determine if PSTA violated the advocacy provisions of state law. Our review disclosed no evidence that PSTA Greenlight communications contained text prohibited by law. We also reviewed state funds available to PSTA through department grant agreements to determine if they were used in accordance with laws, rules, regulations and provisions of the grants. We determined PSTA did not use state funds to pay for the Greenlight campaign.” [Report 14C-6007, Page 1]
On Greenlight Pinellas expenditures:
“Our review disclosed no evidence PSTA campaign expenditures violated the advocacy provisions of state law. Communications on PSTA’s ‘Greenlight Pinellas’ website, advertisements and promotional items contained no text prohibited by law nor any ‘magic words’ which would expressly advocate for electors to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum. Orders for promotional items were reviewed and there was no evidence these items contained statutorily prohibited phrases.” [Report 14C-6007, Page 7]
On No State Funding of Greenlight Pinellas:
“We determined no state grant funding was used to finance the Greenlight campaign. PSTA requested and received direct authorization from the [Federal Transportation Authority] for the use of federal funds for Greenlight educational messaging and branding, including development of a Greenlight website.” [Report 14C-6007, Page 8]
“Based on our review, we determined PSTA did not invoice or expend [Florida Dept. of Transportation] funds to pay for the Greenlight campaign. … There is no evidence the department reimbursed PSTA for any Greenlight expenditures against any of the state grants.”
The Inspector General’s final report, when posted, can be viewed in full at http://www.dot.state.fl.us/inspectorgeneral/fiscalyear2013-2014.shtm
About Greenlight Pinellas: Greenlight Pinellas is a transit improvement plan incorporating feedback from the public, the business community, planning agencies, the Pinellas Alternatives Analysis and Community Bus Plan. The Greenlight Pinellas plan is a comprehensive, countywide transportation improvement proposal to help Pinellas County develop the most efficient and economically viable transit service possible.