“The way it’s going to look to the public is that she is being personally rewarded for creating this outreach center,” says Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause Florida, a citizens’ rights group. “For a legislator to take direct actions that would result in personal benefit doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Evelyn J. Lynn (R) is being paid nearly $120,000 to direct a Florida State University program she pushed to establish. [$1 million in one-time funds to help FSU establish the outreach center on the campus of Daytona Beach College].
Inside Higher Education reports Lynn was hired without a formal search.
Florida State officials and Lynn herself insist that neither she nor the university have done anything remotely wrong in the arrangement, which they predict will be a short-term position. But watchdog groups and ethics experts say that while the arrangement may fall short of the running afoul of Florida’s conflict of interest laws — which require proof that misuse of one’s position was “corrupt” – the hiring of Lynn for a position that she essentially helped to create is inappropriate.