Southwest Florida Development Authority (SWFLDA) is a division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) that serves the five counties of southwest Florida- Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, & Glades (SWFLEda.com). It was first created by the merging of two volunteer groups led by retired highway patrol officers, which is then known as the Road Rangers. The agency itself was established on January 1, 2000, by the former governor of Florida Jeb Bush. SWFLDA is headquart distracted drivingered in Downtown Fort Myers near the county jail.
Former Florida Gov. Bush made a motion to deputize the Road Rangers and gave them authority to recruit and enforce county laws within their jurisdiction but will be subject to direct supervision of FHP Dir. Colonel Gene Spaulding. Although SWFLDA is under FHP’s control, it will remain under the governance of the county commissioners as to their policy-making body. SWFLDA is allowed to exercise authority within the counties’ limits on traffic management and violation without local government’s restriction.
While the county commissioners create and refine policies, the FHP Director serves as the agency chairman and oversees the agency’s executives, which are comprised of five counties’ duly authorized representatives. The chairman is vested with rights and privileges, rank and disqualifications of the members.
The agency performs services that include road and highway monitoring, parking controls, ticketing, clearing, and vehicle management. Among SWFLDA’s programs for the community are footbridges or overpasses and U-turn slots.
Southwest Florida Development Authority, Not-for-Profit Organizations, & Private Sectors
By looking at the comparison between SWFLDA, not-for-profit, and the private sector, all three find themselves at a crossroads.
The economic crisis 10 years ago forced state and local government units (LGU) as well as the private sectors to cut back funding, which reduced the services offered (Smith, 2010).
Performance, reliability, transparency, and accountability have been a major pressure among these agencies. States and LGUs have changed the way they grant contracts based on the performance of the receiving agency. The majority of the time, private sectors have more operational freedom compared to non-profit and public organizations like SWFLDA. Non-profit and public organizations are subject to performance and financial pressure (Smith, 2010).
Since SWFLDA is a state agency, funding is based on the agency’s performance and service reliability. Adequate funding must be in place to run the day-to-day operations, whereas private sectors use their revenues to fund their operations. Both state agencies and non-profit sectors are encumbered by regulations, especially the checks and balances, however, only non-profit organizations are subject to higher expectations on transparency of their financial operations and statements.
“Our agency will serve all residents of Southwest Florida and neighboring counties by providing better traffic management services that will ensure roadway safety and accident-free”.
The core principle of the Southwest Florida Development Authority (SWFLDA) is to provide all residents of our community with a livable, dynamic, and welcoming environment. SWFLDA will continue to assist the Florida Highway Patrol unit and other public agencies in implementing a cohesive plan driven by creativity, flexibility, and resiliency to face challenges in roadway management and traffic enforcement. The agency’s mission will serve as guidance in planning, monitoring, coordinating, and regulating programs to conform to the state and local government units’ policies and regulations without stepping boundaries.
SWFLDA was first established by the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Although the governor has the power to establish a public agency and appoint authorities, SWFLDA is still a state agency and governed by different authorities overseeing a variety of functions.
The Governor holds the authority to appoint responsible and qualified personnel to the agency as well as dismiss them.
County Commissioners are the policy-making bodies of the agency. They execute local ordinances and implement them (Kelly, 2019). Additionally, they are responsible for approving budgets and controlling the overall spending. They evaluate programs and requests presented by the agency.
FHP Director is the current agency chairman of SWFLDA, appointed by the governor. He oversees the agency’s executives and overall operational functions. He works side by side with the county commissioners to work on agency budgets and spending. He reviews reports and requests before it gets presented to the county commissioners. He also works with other agencies to improve coordination.
Agency’s Executives include the chief operating officer, chief financial officer, the legal counsel, and deputy director.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) is overseeing the human resource director & program manager. The COO is responsible for the overall operational management of the agency and directly reports to the chairman. This position is directly involved in the operational performance of all agency personnel, strategic planning, program development, and implementation. The COO is also responsible for achieving and surpassing the agency’s goals and objectives.
Human Resource Director whose sole responsibility is personnel services, professional development and training, worker’s compensation, personnel, and labor relation, and substance abuse testing.
The Program Manager develops road and traffic management policy and presents it to the COO for approval. The PM also manage sustainability in the agency’s operational process and oversee current agency program such as “Smoke-Free Environment” (enforcing a smoke-free zone in specific areas in the counties) and “Don’t click It, Not worth It” (ticketing drivers who are caught using a mobile device while driving).
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is appointed by the agency chairman and is solely responsible for the agency’s finances, and checks and balances. Furthermore, the COO manages the accuracy of the agency’s financial reports and supports the chairman in presenting them to the board of commissioners. The COO also provides accounting and auditing, as well as managing the payroll department and other financial duties related to the position.
Legal Counsel is the agency’s litigation authority. Although the primary role supersedes other tasks, the agency uses the counsel’s expertise for counseling on policy and practice. The legal counsel provides an in-depth interpretation of programthe development and implementation process, legal advice on operational functions, and most importantly the counties’ laws and regulations.
Deputy Director coordinates with the agency chairman on developing agency programs and strategies and communicates it with the public and other governmental agencies. The Deputy Director is also responsible for parking enforcement and fleet management along with supervising the agency’s traffic and parking enforcers.
Traffic and parking enforcers are highway patrollers who monitor major roadways within the jurisdiction and assist local authorities and emergency services in critical cases. They also provide services such as ticketing, towing, and impoundment of abandoned vehicles on the road.
Southwest Florida Development Authority helps other government agencies and local communities to promote a clean and tobacco-free environment for its present residents as well as the future generations. A partnership with other law enforcement agencies and county health officials will keep the program “Keeping SWFL Clean” going. The goal of this program is to enforce local ordinances related to tobacco control and smoking restriction within the five counties. The strategic plan has been put in place and these include community campaigns, implementation of tobacco control in a specified area and its expansion, advocacy, and education. The agency will utilize social media platforms in spreading the program and other means of advertisement.
The program will also in effect and will impact drivers who get caught smoking in their cars. A fine of no more than $500.00 and a community service will be the repercussion for a first offense. If children are found in the car, a driver’s license will be suspended plus a fine of no more than $2,000.00 and a community service. If the case is a repeat offender, revocation of driver’s license will be the penalty plus the 48 hours in jail. There will be a strict policy on the clean air programs in all schools, medical facilities, and recreation centers where children are usually present. This strategy will tremendously help the community and the program as well as all the agencies who put an effort into making SWFL’s air clean again.
Distracted driving causes one-third of all traffic accidents (Garvin, 2018). “Distracted” could be from other reasons besides using a mobile device while driving. But mobile device usage on the road had certainly caused claimed many lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that teens are the largest age group involved in fatal crashes. SWFLDA is making it their fight to put an end to fatal crashescausedecrashes caused by distracted drivers. The agency believes that promoting this program will help the community to enjoy a safe road without the fear of getting hit by a distracted driver. Suspension of driver’s license and community service will be given for the first offense. If it is a repeat offender, revocation of the license will be the penalty and community service. Speaking out in the community, especially in schools, and highlighting the impact of distracted driving will change the way drivers see the road.
At Southwest Florida Development Authority (SWFLDA), the human resource department understands that successful enforcement of recruitment, hiring, retaining, and training requires a strong support system. The agency’s HR department does not focus on the traditional back-office work, instead, HR serves as a strategic partner with the COO and alongside other departments to create a thriving agency.
HR serves as a key component in compliance structure because they must understand the numerous policies, regulations, and laws governing the agency’s employment relationship and help avoid penalties, fines, or worst litigations.
The agency is required and mandated to strictly follow rules that resourcescertainlyresources certainly causedregulresourceslate human resources and a few of these laws include the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FLA), and Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The HR also managed various compensation and benefits packages, which is heavily oversee by the agency chairman and county commissioners.
The agency’s HR department and its personnel developed a compliance goal on the basis ofbasedofis heavily overseen based on basic principles. These principles include finding and hiring the right worker, retainment through training, mandatory compliance audit, and open communication line from allevelsevelslevelsll levels of the agency.
SWFLDA is a state fundedbounded by an agency, therefore, it must abide by all rules, laws, and regulations set forth by the government. The agency’s activities changeschangechanges change depending pole also pole on polthe itical system. Every political party introduced new platforms which eventually becomes legislation.
When the government enacted these acts, all agencies affected by the new acts will be forced to make changes in their performance. In most cases, the government may pass laws or policies that will impact the agency in a number ofseveralof several several several different afferent areas. TheseThese changes this change legislation the might include employment, traffic management, social, and reporting legislations.
Employment Legislation. Agency can be directly affected by employment legislation legislationthe the thorough health and safety work act, the equal pay act, holidays act, etc. (HRINZ.com, 2015).
Traffic Management Legislation deals with establishing a safety standard for all motor vehicles and traffic safety as well. This legislation affected the car manufacturers as they are required to make changes, modify, or upgrade vehicle designs to conform to the laws. It affectaffectsaffect affects the agency in a way that it improves the roadwahelpsfornd help promote safety to every driver. The government also took steps of addressing the high-risk populations by raising the minimum legal drinking age and enforcing drivirestrictionsng restriction restrictions among younger drivers to prevent casualties and fatalities.
Social Legislation aligns towithwithconsumption what the agency is trying to promote, preventing consumptheconsumption the notion of tobacco, for instance. This legislation will enhance the reason reasonscommunity’s welfare like health and educational services.
Reporting Laws. The State requires the agency to submit reports about performance, programs, funding, spending, and other activities it had done in a given period. This is one of the reasons satisfactorily why to maa mandatorysatisfactorily HR compliance audit is important for the agency. The State collects this information to evaluate if the agency is performing satisfactorilyis and if the financial position is accurate. Accuracy is paramount in all public sector and non-profit agencies. Funding legislation is dependent on these reports, so the government request to have transparency.
LobbyistLobbyists influence legislationslegislation and award contracts and become part of the process of policy-making in modern democracies. The interest of the community is at risk because of closed-door the doors doornegotiadoor negotiationstions. Lobbying is typically associated with political agenda. Hence, people look for transparency and fairness when it comes to the decision-making process to protect public interest and promote good governance.
SWFLDA is committed to preserving restrictions on the benefits of open communication and transparency to facilitate public trust and engagement. The agency assessed policies and regulations restrictionsrestrictions potential and restrictions to fully achieve proper compliance. The government should establish a guidelines for transparency and effective ruling for good public governance to ensure public officials are held accountable to promote fair representation of the society.
All operations of the Southwest Florida Development Authority will be subject to audit to identify potential risk risk risk risks that can significantly negatively affect the agency. The risk assessment conducted includes personal interviews of the Agency’s top executives to get an idea of the agency’s current state.
Below are matters that were discussed and included in the plan:
Vehicle Management – VehicleThe vehicle is important because it is part of the daily operation of the agency. Agency movehiclestor vehicle vehicles are used to perform personnel’s duties, however, only assigned motor vehicles are allowed to be operated.
Agency Database Audit – This a is system that the agency is currently using to check drivdrivers’ers information that is only available to law enforcement agencies. All information in the system is sensitive and cannot be disclosed or mishandled. To properly maintain the integrity of this information uses, the agency uses security control by both state and federal law.
Transformational leadership understandunderstandsunderstand understands that it is important to create an ideal culture and in communities to become proactive again in helping to intervene in the policy-making body. This leader will fit in the agency as the skills align with the need of every employee- a strong and self-reliant leader. A professional and personal relationship with all the personnel should exist because this agency performs to achieve one purpose. The agency needs a passionate leaderis, who is has a vision, and able to lead people to changes.
Good governance acts as a fuel to enable motivation in pursuing long-term objectives and thus result in improve quality of life. Transformational leadership will surpassedsurpass strategic direction and regression-makinglationmaking lotion but will excel in being an ethical public servant.
Decision making is one of the primary roles of top-level management of the agency. It impacts the growth and effectiveness of another ng team, sparks creativity, and kept everyone focus on accomplishing goals. A big part of the agency’s decision-making process is identifying factors that affects the agency’s practices.
Agency leaders must have the knowledge and understanding to face any challenges influencing effectivity and success of the whole agency. Additionally, learning to accommodate changes and external factors such as diversity, teamwork, and policy will create an effective leadership.
SWFLDA is a public company that deals with people all the time. Communication is paramount and must be in an assertive communication style. Being assertive helps the management express the message effectively and explain the viewpoint. Assertiveness is a two-way street, meaning it’s mutual respect. Assertiveness also shows awareness of oneself and others which helps in resolving conflicts.
People perceived an assertive communicator as a healthy communicator because, for one, it helps on improving decision-making which in turn yarns creates respect from the communities. Moreover, being assertive helps develop honest relationships and create a win-win situation for everyone.
SWFLDA’s former name Road Rangers was initially created as a volunteer group before it was deputized by the former governor to make its function legal. It was established to assist the Florida Highway Patrol in performing traffic management services in selected counties in Florida.
The agency developed several programs inca ng the clean air and mobile device usage while driving. These are large projects that require other government agencies such as law enforcement, school board, and health department to work together as team for successful implementation of the programs. The main objective of SWFLDA is to provide the communities it’s serving the safety on roadways and accident-free, highways.