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ASK THE GOVERNOR
For release Monday, 21, 1962 OF -
It's time to "Ask the Governor," when Governor Pa P g
answers questions based on letters and comments from Fl~i:a/ i
QUESTION: Governor, a Lakeland man has written commending
you for your position on economy in government, but adding and I
quote, "I have always thought the taxpayers' money should be
spent in such a way that would help the most people of the state.
Do you think it is good business for you and your Cabinet to go
at taxpayers' expense to places like the Plant City Strawberry
GOVERNOR: Well, you know you have got a problem there and
I had never really thought of it in just that way, but it's a
legitimate question. I do think, though, and the reason that I
travel at state expense to a place like the Plant City Straw-
berry Festival is because the Governor of the State and other
state officials--other public officials--ought to be available
to people. Now when I go to Plant City--it is true I ride for
a moment in a parade, but the most of my time is spent talking
with the people in that area, and there will be hundreds of
them there. I derive from them comments about whether they like
this, that or the other thing that we are doing, and they ask
me questions and I am able in a short period of time literally
to see hundreds of people who have business with their governor
that would not otherwise be able to reach me at all. I think
in a democracy this is important. After reflecting on his
question, let me answer it affirmatively: yes, I do think it
is good business because it keeps me in touch with the people so
that I may know what their wishes are on the one hand, and on the
other hand it gives the people an opportunity to present their
petitions and their ideas to the Governor of their State.
QUESTION: You have answered in part by that his next
question. He went on to ask: "Do you think that you can look after
state business travelling all over the country, as well as in
GOVERNOR: Let me say that I almost never go anywhere
without having several purposes in mind. If I go to Plant
City to the Strawberry Festival, I will also on that occasion
go over to, let's say Interstate 4 where they are having some
trouble completing the road, or I will go to a TB hospital in
the area or I will do something connected with state business
that I need to do in that area. We sort of keep a running file
on things that we need to do and as I am able to be in the
several sections of the state, perhaps on the Strawberry Festival
type thing, I try t4 do those other things at the same time.
QUESTION: Does the same hold true pretty generally for
your out-of-state trips?
GOVERNOR: Well, the out-of-state trips are always business
trips. Well that is not quite true -- but I'd say 99 per cent
of them are always direct business trips. If I go to Washington,
for instance, I go there to see the members of Congress to
present something on behalf of Florida. If I go to New York,
it is a financial matter. Now, the trip I made to Europe, of
course, was not solely a Florida taxpayers trip expense, although
it was for their benefit. And the same is true of the trip to
Japan. There were no Florida taxpayers expense involved.
QUESTION: Our Lakeland correspondent had one final
question which was based on recent news stories that one or two
state employees had drawn travel expense monies of more than
$4,000 in a six-month period. He asks if you think that such
expenditures can be justified?
GOVERNOR: These are things that we give very close
scrutiny to and it is obvious that travel expense accounts can
be easily abused. First of all, the Comptroller checks every
expense account and if he doesn't think it is legitimate he
kicks it back. He makes them either come in and justify the
expense account or he refuses to make payment. So, basically,
these have been justified. In the case of the two employees you
speak of -- I believe they were Florida Development Commission
employees -- and I know of my own personal knowledge, while I
don't the details of their expense accounts, that they have
spent a great deal of their time travelling out of the state
to New York and Chicago, to Seattle, and various places where
they are representing the State of Florida in the pursuit of
certain particular interests. I suspect -- in fact, I feel
fairly confident their expenses are justified.
Thank you sir.
If you have a question of general interest you would like
Governor Bryant to answer on this program, jot it down on a
post card and send it to "Ask the Governor," in care of this
station which has made available this time in the public interest.
Be with us next week when again we "Ask the Governor."