A Florida circuit court judge this week said he needs more information before deciding if the state's plans to privatize a lot of its prison operations are legal. The decision will matter big time to Brentwood-based Corizon, which last month was formally awarded a $229 million contract to provide health care to inmates at more than 40 facilities. Corizon executives have promised word on job offers to about 1,800 state employees but state officials have told them to hold off until the court case is resolved.
Cooper said his initial reading of state law suggested that in "plain English" that the panel can tweak the existing state budget but that a "small group of legislators" cannot enact new policy. Lawyers for the state, as well as an attorney for one of the companies seeking to take over health care services for inmates, assert that approval by the panel was legal.
UP Development of Franklin has under contract a 1.1 million-square-foot regional mall in the Orlando area. Publicly traded owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust put the property on the market earlier this year. Scott Fish, UP principal and the man who a few years ago took over what is now the A-Game Sportsplex in Cool Springs, and his team like to redevelop older properties rather than build new in suburban markets.
Two quick hits from the world of HCA: First, the company faces a one-day strike next week by members of National Nurses United at two of its California hospitals. At issue are some staffing concerns as well as HCA's plans to phase out some benefits, but things could be worse: NNU members plan to walk off the job at eight Sutter Health hospitals.
Clear on the other side of the country, the president of HCA's West Florida division this week said the company plans to add hundreds of residency positions at its hospitals in the Tampa area in the coming years. Peter Marmerstein also told the Tampa Bay Times the company plans to expand its residency programs in Orlando as well.
Locally based market research and branding experts North Star Destination Strategies have been hired by Florida economic development officials to position the Sunshine State in the national and global market. Not surprisingly, some of the locals aren't too happy with a state job like this being awarded to a Tennessee company.
“It goes against the very grain of their mission to create jobs and bring business here,” said Paola Schifino, principal and founder of Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding in Tampa.