(Orlando, FL) – The Central Florida Partnership (CFP) today joined in support of local and statewide business organizations and interests in filing a legal injunction against the Citizens for a Greater Orange County (CGOC) political committee. The charges stem from the CGOC’s petition drive to place a paid sick leave measure to appear on the November 6, 2012, ballot in Orange County. The lawsuit is being filed by GrayRobinson, P.A. on behalf of the Partnership and is being funded by CFP.
“The petition leads voters to believe that its proposed ordinance will impose its sick-leave requirement only on ‘businesses,’ which is far from true,” said Jacob V. Stuart, President of the Central Florida Partnership. “All private-sector employers, including churches, synagogues, charities, civic groups, fraternal groups, private nonprofit schools, nonprofit hospitals, and other noncommercial employers, without question, will be subject to the requirements.”
The Central Florida Partnership supports the efforts of the six co-plaintiffs, which include the Central Florida Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Orlando, Inc. (formerly the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce), the Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando and the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce.
The complaint, filed at the Orange County Circuit Court, involves a dispute over the legality and validity of the ballot initiative, stating that the petition is unlawfully misleading registered voters as to the scope, application, subject matter and chief purpose of the ordinance proposed by the petition.
“Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) represents over 400 commercial and industrial construction employers. Member employers have personnel working in multiple cities and counties throughout any given day or week. ABC feels that a vague requirement from a single county to provide certain benefits, such as paid sick leave based on hours worked in that county, would be a compliance nightmare for the construction employer – particularly if other counties adopt laws of varying specifications,” said Mark P. Wylie, President & CEO of the Central Florida Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. “Such constraints would also discourage new business expansion and drive business away from Central Florida. Mandated benefits will hurt employers and discourage business growth at a time when this community can least afford these results.”
“This is a classic example of bait and switch. The bait is a ballot measure with a title and summary that says one thing, but in reality does another,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Citizens have the legal right to know exactly what they are voting on, and the Washington, D.C. group that is funding this initiative has the legal duty to accurately disclose to voters the full extent of this measure.”
“This proposal, if allowed on the ballot, is yet another unfunded mandate placed on small businesses that can ill afford them in today’s economy,” said Richard Maladecki, President/CEO of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association. “We need to support businesses, not hinder their ability to provide jobs and economic recovery in our community,” continued Maladecki whose group represents 80 percent of all lodging rooms in the tri-county area.
“The integrity and public trust in the initiative-petition and referendum process can be maintained only if voters receive full disclosure of the effects of a public measure,” said Leslie Hielema, President of Orlando, Inc. “The proposed sick-time ordinance does not comply with the state law requirements of an ordinance title and enacting clause, which are important safeguards to ensure that the public is on fair notice of its requirements.”
“The potential costs added onto the bottom line of not only our home builders, but to Central Floridians purchasing a home would be devastating to our industry,” said Scott Merritt, Chief Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando. “It is fast becoming more and more difficult for our family-based business and subcontractors to make a living in these economically challenging times,” said Merritt, whose trade organization is recognized as the voice and leadership of the housing and building industry in Central Florida.
“This one-size-fits-all proposal is bad for business in Orange County and that’s why you see business organizations representing all sizes of businesses from Fortune 500 to mom and pop companies uniting to oppose this misleading ordinance,” said Paul Seago, President of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce.
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About the Central Florida Partnership (CFP)
The Central Florida Partnership was created to anticipate the complexities of global markets, growth, and collaboration – and to respond with timely and appropriate action. Serving business, civic and community leaders in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia Counties – the CFP is a business-led initiative where regional leaders come together to share regional conversations – moving “Ideas to Results.” America’s Newest Regional Partnership, the Central Florida Partnership is a platform where regional leaders can learn to better collaborate, cooperate and coordinate – resulting in improved communications throughout the Central Florida Region. For additional information, visit www.CentralFloridaPartnership.org.
Jacob V. Stuart, Central Florida Partnership, 407.835.2517
Thomas J. Wilkes, ESQ., GrayRobinson P.A., 407.843.8880
Christina Johnson, On 3 Public Relations, 850.391.5040