Current Committees 

The Higher Education Committee was formed in May 2007 to focus on issues relating to the governance, policies, processes, and funding of Florida’s public and private colleges and universities.  In addition to publishing Closing the Talent Gap in 2010, the Council has more recently issued position statements relating to Bright Futures (Apr. 2014; Apr. 2014 follow-up) and performance-based funding.  All higher education publications may be found here.
The PreK-12 Education committee was established in May 2007 to address topics relating to Prek-12 education (e.g., standards and assessments, accountability, instruction, choice, funding).  In addition to publishing Closing the Talent Gap in 2010, the Council has more recently issued position statements relating to  Common Core State Standards and assessments and student and systemic accountability (Feb. 2014; Sept. 2014; Nov. 2014; Dec. 2015).  All PreK-12 education publications may be found here.
The Economic Development Committee was created in May 2012 to address issues relating to the economic growth of Florida and the economic well-being of its citizens.  More recent Council publications in this area include a position letter regarding state water policy and an advocacy piece about the need for federal funding to combat the Zika virus.  All Economic Development publications may be found here.

Past Committees, Task Forces & Working Groups

The Business Higher Education Partnership was formed in 1996 under the chairmanship of Chuck Cobb.  It was comprised of 24 members: 12 business CEOs, and 12 from higher education (four state universities; four private universities and colleges; and four community colleges).  In 1999, Burke Kibler of Holland and Knight, LLP in Tampa became chairman of the Business/Higher Education Partnership.  During its existence, the partnership published several key documents during its existence, including The Emerging Catastrophe and How to Prevent ItCatastrophe ForestalledBursting at the Seams, and Opportunity 2000: A New Agenda.

In each of the first three reports, the Partnership concluded that Florida could increase its capacity to educate more students and increase the quality of education without a tax increase, if the following four conditions were met:

  • The previous trend of spending a declining percentage of state revenues for higher education must be reversed.
  • Tuition must double in ten years to a point where it covers 50% of instructional costs at universities and 33% at community colleges.
  • We must better utilize the capacity of our independent colleges and universities.
  • We must be more efficient.

Substantial progress was made over the three years by the state in addressing these issues. In early 2000, while still advocating the original platform, the partnership was able to refocus its efforts on a broader issue. Based on conversations with Governor Bush and then Chancellor Adam Herbert of the State University System, the partnership moved to a new top priority – to improve university research capability and business partnerships, and develop more college graduates and information-age workers to enhance Florida’s economic development climate. The partnership devoted time in advance of the 2000 spring general membership meeting to visit with some of the key people and offices in Washington, D.C. responsible for determining al location of research funding.

Most recently, the partnership provided input to the Florida Education Governance Transition Task Force, which was charged with developing the proposals to implement the 1998 changes to the Florida constitution regarding education governance.  Primarily because of the new state focus on education from a K-20 perspective, the partnership was dissolved in April 2002, with the intention of further Council higher education work being coordinated by the newly formed K-20 Education committee.

Chaired by Carlos Alfonso, CEO, Alliant Partners LLC/Alfonso Architects, the Class Size Working Group was established in December 2005 to support the proposed legislative resolution to the class size amendment during the 2006 session so that it will make the 2006 November ballot.  The class size proposals proposed by the legislature did not make it through the 2006 legislative session.
The Civil Service Working Group, formerly the Modernizing Civil Service Task Force, was established in 1999 under the chairman ship of Al Hoffman.  In 2001, Bob Soran, President and COO of Uniroyal Technology Group, became chairman of the Civil Service Working Group.  The working group goal was to see if there were opportunities for Florida’s state government to improve the efficiency of the civil service system, increase the attractiveness of public service career opportunities, and thereby increase the productivity of state employees.  Early objectives were to:

  • define a set of desirable changes to civil service to recommend to the Governor
  • assist the Governor in implementing the recommendations

Florida Tax Watch, a long time close associate of the Florida Council of 100, agreed to partner with the Council on this issue, as they had on several other productivity issues during the 1990s.

Following a series of meetings with government employees and private sector human resource managers, attorneys, and consultants, the task force published its report, entitled Modernizing Florida’s Civil Service System: Moving from Protection to Performance in November 2000. Task Force Chairman Hoffman also conducted a news conference in Tallahassee and briefed Governor Bush, Speaker of the House Tom Feeney, and President of the Senate John McKay on the proposals in late December 2000.

The main thrust of the proposal was to eliminate the protected status enjoyed by 97% of the civil service employees of the executive branch and to make all such employment “at will,” as it was for employees of the judicial and legislative branches.  This action would make it easier to attract, hire quickly, and retain good employees, provide systems to pay employees based on performance and to pay more for scarce skills.  The “at will” status would also allow non-performing employees not meeting performance standards to be released from public service quickly.  All of these changes would lead to an increase in productivity and improved satisfaction by the people of Florida.

Governor Bush incorporated many of the Council proposals in his “Service First” proposal, which became the basis of legislation during the 2001 session.  After considerable thoughtful deliberation, the Florida legislative passed a bill with substantial modernization to Florida’s civil service system.

The civil service reform legislation, that was signed into law May 14, 2001, does the following:

  • Transfer 16,000 managers, supervisors and confidential employees to at-will status, ensuring more accountability in the state workforce and providing these workers with a better benefits package.
  • Eliminate the unfair practice of “bumping”.
  • Add “poor performance” as an action that can be specifically disciplined under the cause standard.
  • Provide for a streamlined hiring process that will allow agencies to hire qualified employees in a speedier, less bureaucratic fashion.
  • Provide for “broadbanding,” reducing the number of job classifications from 1,300 to no more than 300 (and thus providing greater flexibility for pay raises).
  • Provide a cash-out benefit for unused annual leave. Every career service employee will be able to cash-out up to three days of unused annual leave each year in December, beginning 2002.
  • Provide for performance pay bonuses and permanent salary increases through efficiencies.
  • Provide for employee “profit sharing” through savings ideas.
  • Reform and streamline the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC), cutting the timeline for grievance cases.
  • Eliminate mitigation. PERC will no longer be able to second-guess management decisions.
  • Require PERC to evaluate each case on individual merit rather than having to base their rulings on previous decisions.
  • Extend the probationary period for career service employees from six months to one year.
  • Require all existing personnel rules, unless readopted, to be repealed by January 1, 2002.
  • Encourage education and training opportunities in Florida’s universities, community colleges and technical centers for state employees to further work-related skills.

The Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) was moved from the Department of Labor to the Department of Management Services (DMS), and the department rewrote all the administrative rules, along with broadbanding of job classifications, development of performance evaluation and awards, and training improvements.

The task force transitioned to a working group in November 2001 and focused on assisting DMS in the implementation of the Service First initiative. Working Group Chairman Bob Soran made his corporate Vice President of Human Resources available to lead a 14-company team to assist Secretary Henderson and her staff.  The working group was helpful in getting the outsourcing initiative passed during the 2002 legislative session.

Having met its objectives, the Council Board of Directors dissolved the working group in May 2002.

Due to a combination of the economic downturn in the spring of 2001 and the horrific events of September 11, the Council was keenly aware of the critical economic situation in which Florida found itself.  To be a part of the solution of these challenges, the Council established the Economic Recovery Task Force, led by Chris Sullivan, Chairman and CEO of Outback Steakhouse.

The primary purpose of the short-term Economic Recovery Task Force was to provide ideas and recommendations to Governor Bush and the legislature on how to stimulate Florida’s economy immediately, and to improve it over the next 12 months. The immediate focus of the task force was on the two special sessions of the legislature in the fall of 2001, in which an economic stimulus package and budget cuts were approved.  Specifically, the task force had several goals:

  • Determine what individual companies are doing to recover from the economic downturn, and what the state can do to help
  • Assess what other organizations and states are doing
  • Document how Council members and their companies have responded to the economic downturn
  • Develop immediate public policy solutions to downturn
  • Work with Governor’s Office and legislature to enact important public policy improvements

The Council of 100 sent a Position Letter on Sales Tax Reform, dated January 18, 2002, to Governor Bush, Speaker Feeney and President McKay stating its position on the tax reform proposal to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot.  Additionally, a copy of the letter was sent to all 160 legislators on January 22, 2002.  The Task Force also developed a Crisis Response Report in September 2002 that was sent to the Governor’s office and Enterprise Florida for future use.  The Council Board of Directors dissolved the task force in May 2002 since its primary task to help stimulate Florida’s economy had been achieved.

In September 2002, Florida Board of Education Chairman Phil Handy asked the Council to assist the Board with the implementation of the new K-20 governance system. The Council of 100 agreed and formed the Education Governance Task Force, chaired by Len Miller, Chairman of Lennar Corporation.  The mission of the task force was to “provide strategic concepts for improving education governance to the Florida Board of Education as it develops its strategic plan.”  In January 2002, the task force released a position paper stating its support for the new K-20 education governance system, entitled Position Paper on Education Governance: January 2002.  With the conclusion of the 2002 legislative session, the restructured K-20 governance structure was implemented.  Consequently, our task force folded into the Council’s new K-20 Education Committee in May 2002 that will continue to focus on K-20 education issues. 
The mission of this Task Force was to foster a secure future for Florida and its citizenry and guests, by developing a state energy policy (residential, industrial, transportation) based on sustainability, long-term diversity, cost competitiveness, and delivery systems that create opportunities for innovation, new industry, and high-quality jobs.
Established in June 2005, the Florida’s Future Task Force, chaired by Chuck Cobb, Managing Director and CEO, Cobb Partners, will determine the top eight key challenges in Florida’s future over the next decade and beyond, and develop broad strategies to get us there.  The task force’s mission is to “identify the top challenges that will affect Florida’s future, to assess the Council’s ability to have an impact on the resolution of the issues, and determine the appropriate structure to address these challenges.”

With pro-bono support from McKinsey & Company, the task force identified eight key drivers that will impact Florida over the next decade and beyond.  Within the Council of 100, the eight drivers will be used to establish issue task forces in areas of particular strategic importance, to delve into the details of these challenges, and to develop ideas for resolving them.  The eight critical drivers of Florida’s future that resulted from our intensive analyis are:

  • Education
  • Income, jobs and business climate
  • Growth management and environment
  • Hurricane readiness and costs
  • Attainable housing
  • Rising healthcare costs
  • Energy dependence and affordability
  • Globalization

The Council’s final report, Preparing for the Future, was released in early February 2006 and the task force was disestablished in April 2006.

The Front Porch Florida Working Group, formerly the Task Force to Improve Business Opportunities and Capital Investment in the Urban Core, was chaired by Rusty Stephenson, President – Florida and Mississippi Banking Group, AmSouth Bank.  The goal of this working group was to develop ideas to improve the economic well-being of Front Porch Florida entrepreneurs and residents.

Early on in 1999, the task force had selected two major priorities: to develop a compendium of best practices from around Florida and the nation and to help in the formulation and implementation of Governor Bush’s Front Porch Florida program.  The task force report, entitled Revitalizing Florida’s Communities: A Report From the Florida Council of 100, was distributed in January 2000.  Over 1,800 copies were sent to all members of the Florida Legislature, selected agencies in the Governor’s office and across state government, Governor’s Revitalization Councils in the Front Porch communities, and all mayors, economic development councils, chambers of commerce, and college and university libraries across Florida.

The Front Porch Florida program had been established in 1999 by Governor Bush to provide wide-ranging assistance to specific economically disadvantaged neighborhoods across Florida.  Task Force members worked with the Governor’s newly formed Office of Urban Opportunity early on to help develop the process for selection of the communities.  With an eventual goal of twenty such communities, the final four were announced in October 2002.  The Front Porch Florida communities are:

  • Greater Pensacola Front Porch, Pensacola
  • Dorsey-Riverbend Neighborhood, Ft. Lauderdale
  • Greater South Central Neighborhood, St. Petersburg
  • Greater Frenchtown, Tallahassee
  • Northwood/Pleasant, West Palm Beach
  • Opa-Locka-North Dade, Opa-Locka
  • Duval Area Neighborhood, Gainesville
  • West Bartow Neighborhood, Bartow
  • Holden Heights Community, Orlando
  • Riverside Community of Little Havana, Miami
  • Goldsboro Neighborhood, Sanford
  • West Ocala Fron Porch Area, Ocala
  • Gifford Neighborhood, Indian River
  • Sylvania Heights Neighborhood, Shalimar
  • Heart of East Tampa Community, Tampa
  • Rogers, Rousch Field, Singeltary and Washington, Bradenton
  • Newtown-Sarasota
  • Sherwood Forest Neighborhood-Jacksonville
  • South Immokalee Neighborhood-Immokalee
  • Central City Neighborhood-Daytona Beach

The Front Porch Florida Working Group assisted the Front Porch Florida program by providing Council members to serve as Council liaisons to many of the Front Porch Florida Communities.

The working group released a report, Front Porch Florida: The Florida Council of 100 Involvement From 1999-2004, in February 2004 documenting the Council’s involvement with Front Porch Florida over the last five years.

The Front Porch Florida Working Group was dissolved in February 2004.  However, the Council encourages its Council liaisons to stay involved in their Front Porch Florida communities.  A Council representative will stay abreast of the program at the state level and keep Council membership informed of program progress annually.  Currently, 15 Council members are liaisons in 14 Front Porch Florida communities.

Established in May 2006 based on the Council of 100 internal prioritization process, the Growth Leadership Task Force’s mission is to “promote incentive-based, growth leadership and regional cooperation that aligns economic development, sustainable growth and environmental stewardship to enhance quality of life for current and future generations of Floridians.
The PASS Working Group, formerly The Task Force to Close the Gap in Education, was chaired by Peter Rummell, Chairman & CEO, The St. Joe Company. The PASS program became part of the South Florida Annenberg Challenge’s successor organization, the Council for Educational Change (, in January 2003.  The PASS Working Group was dissolved in November 2002 to reflect this transition.

Formed in early 1999, the original task force had two major priorities: to support the Bush/Brogan A+ Plan for education reform and to develop a program to improve the performance of low performing schools. Activities in support of the A+ Plan in 1999 included an op-ed article in over 25 Florida newspapers by Task Force Chairman Rummell and publication of a booklet describing the A+ Plan from the Council’s view point, entitled The Florida Council of 100 Review of The Bush/Brogan A+ Plan to Improve Education.

The Partnership to Advance School Success (PASS) program was established in September 1999, in partnership with the South Florida Annenberg Challenge, chaired by Council member Len Miller of the Lennar Corporation in Miami. The PASS concept was for Council CEOs to provide both personal time and company funds, along with matching funds from the South Florida Annenberg Challenge and school districts, to improve “D” graded schools to “A” over a three year period. Primary emphasis was to be on providing both business and educational acumen to the school CEO (the principal); coupled with financial incentives to be used as agreed by the involved participants. A pilot program during the 1999-2000 school year with seven “D” schools showed the potential benefits of PASS; two schools improved to a “B” grade, four improved to a “C” grade, and one remained at a “D” grade. The program has now grown to 65 models throughout the state.  Attached is an evaluation report utilizing FCAT data through the 2006 school year.

PASS Presentation 2004

To obtain further information about the PASS program, please contact:

Dawn Wilson, VP of Educational Advancement
Council for Educational Change
University Park Plaza
3520 South University Drive
Ft. Lauderdale, FL  33328
Tel: 954-727-9909
Fax: 954-727-0990

The Higher Education Funding Task Force, chaired by Joe Lacher, President, Bell-South Florida, was established in November 2002. The mission of the task force is “to review all aspects of higher education funding: state support, tuition, research, grants and scholarships, private sector support, and develop proposals for improvement.”

The task force released its initial position paper, Higher Education Funding Task Force Position Paper, in March 2003. The position paper establishes the position of the Council of 100 regarding funding policy issues for higher education.

During the fall of 2003, the task force, with pro bono support from McKinsey & Company and the Council for Educational Policy Research and Improvement (CEPRI), conducted a three-month study of higher education in Florida with the objective of improving quality and accessibility for state residents through adjustments to several funding sources affecting the allocation of state funds.  The task force released a press release about its report, We Must Do Better!  Moving Florida’s State University System to the Next Level in Quality and Accessibility, on March 18, 2004.

The task force continued to monitor higher education funding issues during the 2005 legislative session.  However, the Executive Committee agreed to disestablish the task force in December 2005 based on (a) task force inputs (b) results from the Council prioritization process at the Council’s fall meeting.

The Teacher Quality Task Force, chaired by Leerie Jenkins, Chairman & CEO, Reynolds, Smith and Hills, Inc., was established in November 2002. The mission of the task force was to “develop strategic proposals to improve the quality, quantity and stature of preK-12 teachers in the state of Florida.” The task force worked with the Florida Board of Education, whose number one Strategic Imperative is to increase the supply of highly qualified K-12 instructors.

In December 2003, the task force sent a letter to Governor Bush, the House Speaker, and the Senate President offering the Council’s support for the Better Educated Students and Teachers (BEST) Act (differentiated pay), passed during the 2003 legislative session.  Additionally, the task force sent a letter to the Governor and legislative leadership reflecting opposition to the accelerated high school graduation option that was passed during the 2003 legislative session.

The task force was dissolved in February 2004, but the Council will continue to monitor teacher quality issues as it is the number one strategic objective for the state board of education.

The Tort Reform Task Force is chaired by Tom James, Chairman and CEO of Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg.  The Florida Council of 100 supported the 1999 Tort Reform Act, which leveled the playing field for all parties in a civil suit, while insuring fair compensation for an injured plaintiff.  Two years later, the 1999 tort reform bill was ruled to be unconstitutional on procedural and technical grounds by a Leon County circuit judge.

On October 9, 2002, the First District Court of Appeal issued its decision overturning Circuit Court Judge Nikki Ann Clark’s ruling that the Tort Reform Act of 1999 was unconstitutional.  The next step is for the Florida Supreme Court to review the ruling.

During the 2003 legislative session, the task force focused on Workers’ Compensation Reform and Medical Malpractice Liability Reform to ensure these reforms were passed. The task force supported the recommendations of the Governor’s Select Taskforce on Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance (Summary on Medical Liability Insurance Report) and the Governor’s Commission on Workers’ Compensation Reform (Summary of Workers’ Compensation Report).

The task force continued to monitor tort reform issues during the 2004 and 2005 legislative sessions, working with our partners at Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  The task force will stay informed about and in touch with the Florida Justice Reform Institute, a newly formed organization that addresses legal reform over the long-term in Florida.

The task force kept abreast of the 2006 legislative session, and offered the Council’s position on tort reform in a letter sent to the Governor, Speaker of the House and President of the Senate in February 2006.  The task force was pleased to see significant tort reform passed, and the Executive Committee agreed to disestablish the task force in July, as it had met its objective.  The Council will continue to monitor tort reform issues and will reengage the task force if necessary.

Chaired by Lee Arnold, Chairman & CEO, Colliers Arnold/Arnold Companies, the Water Management Task Force was established in May 2002 to address water supply concerns and provide statewide, strategic recommendations to the Governor and legislature by the fall of 2003. The mission of the Water Management Task Force is to “recommend statewide water management policies and recommendations…that foster sustainable environmentally sound water supplies and resources that are economically feasible to meet current and future Florida needs.”

The task force spent a year and a half conducting research in order to determine the key water management issues, and developing statewide policy recommendations. The task force released its final report in September 2003, entitled Improving Florida’s Water Supply Management Structure: Ensuring and Sustaining Environmentally Sound Water Supplies and Resources to Meet Current and Future Needs.

For a commentary of the report, please see the Florida Public Radio review.

The task force continued to monitor water issues during the 2004 and 2005 legislative sessions, and will follow closely the impact of the Water Protection and Sustainability Act of 2005.  This Act, passed during the 2005 legislative session, provides monetary and regulatory incentives for utilities and water management districts to work together to implement alternative water supply projects included in the districts’ regional water supply plans.  The task force applauds the legislature’s passage of a growth management bill that will provide $1.1 billion over 10 years for water, mostly to develop alternative sources.

In December 2005, the Executive Committee agreed to disestablish the task force based on (a) inputs from the task force and (b) results from the Council prioritization voting process at the Council fall meeting.