TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's Commerce Secretary will get a $70,000 dollar bonus on top of his $230,000 dollar salary, and critics are howling that the bonus is excessive.
Gray Swoope is in charge of attracting new business to Florida as the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida.
On Thursday, Enterprise Florida's board, which is chaired by Gov. Rick Scott, voted to give Swoope a $70,000 bonus and an extra $630,000 in bonuses to the staff.
It's the second $70,000 bonus for Swoope in less than a year.
Government watchdog group Integrity Florida, Progress Florida and The Tea Party Network are blasting the decision.
Integrity Florida spokesman Dan Krassner said the bonuses are awarded based on job pledges from companies, not actual jobs.
"Over the last five years, the Enterprise Florida board has awarded more than $2 million in bonuses to the staff, all based on promises that jobs might come in the future in exchange for taxpayer-funded subsidies, not actual results, not actual jobs that are here for Floridians."
Enterprise Florida is funded with tax dollars and private cash.
State law states that the agency is supposed to get an equal share of funding from both sources, but a recent audit shows more than 75 percent of its operating cash comes from taxpayers.
Krassner said Enterprise Florida's board has lost sight of the taxpayers paying the bulk of the agency's expenses.
"The independent audit report by Enterprise Florida shows it's failing to comply with Florida statutes and now they're going to spend almost half of the private sector funds they've raised on these excessive bonuses without results."
Enterprise Florida said it is not spending any public money on the bonuses. All of it comes from private contributions.
The agency responded to the criticism, saying the $630,000 "employee performance pool" has helped Enterprise Florida "attract and retain highly qualified professionals and maintain a high-performance culture."
It said employees must earn the bonus through outstanding performance based on goals set by EFI's leadership.
In addition to his $230,000 annual salary and $70,000 bonus, Swoope receives $600 a month for an automobile.