Doug Darling, Rick Scott Job-Creation Adviser, Quits

Categories: Economy, Politics
doug-darling.jpg
Hired to help the unemployed, now keeping them company
The man who oversees much of the state's job-creation effort submitted his resignation late last week for "personal reasons."

It's not clear why Department of Economic Opportunity Director Doug Darling, who was hired for the gig last July, is calling it quits, but it probably isn't for a lack of results: The most recent numbers suggest Florida's unemployment rate is lower than it's been in years. The state gained 113,900 jobs between December 2010 and December 2011 -- the third-largest jump in the country, according to Department of Labor numbers released last week.

Still, it's a long staircase out of the basement -- the state's most recent preliminary estimate of 9.9 percent unemployment is still 16.5 percent above the national average, tied for sixth-worst in the country.

In addition, a study released earlier this month was critical of Scott administration oversight of job subsidy programs: In short, the state might be helping to create jobs, but the administration is doing a sloppy job of it.

When the state gives money or incentives to businesses to spur job creation, the study found, it fails to properly monitor businesses and penalize ones that don't follow through with actual jobs -- and is actually getting worse at it. Sounds to us like something Darling was at least peripherally responsible for.

"Florida is a strange case," a spokesman for the group that did the study told the Tampa Bay Times. "There was some online disclosure [in Florida], and then when Gov. [Rick] Scott took over, that website was removed and last we heard has not been replaced."

More from Times reporter Jeff Harrington :
The study found 10 percent of major state programs still do not require companies to report to agencies on job creation, and many more fail to adequately monitor recipients. Florida tied for 14th overall, rating a "C" grade. It found Florida had stronger underlying standards than many states but relatively weak enforcement. ...
An analysis last fall by the Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau noted that Florida had signed contracts worth $1.7 billion since 1995 in return for promises of 225,000 new jobs. But only about one-third of those jobs had been filled, the analysis found, while the state has paid out 43 percent of the contracts.

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