Broward Prosecutor Takes On Gov. Scott


Hats off to Anita White!

This Broward prosecutor, one of dozens who keep the streets safe, is sick of hearing how government employees are free loaders.

And she did something about it.

White drove to Tallahassee on her own dime to testify against Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed rate hikes for employee pensions and health care insurance.  She used her annual leave time.

Billionaire Scott calls his idea balancing the budget.   White rightfully calls it a pay cut.

Her Testimony

White spoke before the Florida Senate’s Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability.  The chairman is state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Parkland.

Here is what she said:

I drove eight hours. This is very important to me and all of my colleagues.

My name is Anita White and I am a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office of  Broward County.

I’m here representing myself, but I’m also here because I have paralegals, secretaries and people who work with me who cannot afford even one percent being taken out of their pay to go to
their retirement.

We were made promises when we signed on with the state.

I was promised that I would have my Bar dues paid. This is now gone.

I was promised that I would get health insurance. Now I’m being forced to give money to that.

I was promised that I would have life insurance at twice my pay. And then I was told last year that my life is only worth $25,000 and I had to purchase additional life insurance.

So in one year, I have already received three pay cuts. Three!

And you’re asking me to take another. And you’re asking
people who make less than I do to take another.

I do what I do — I’m a Career Criminal prosecutor, I spent three years as a sex-crimes prosecutor — I do it for love. I use my personal resources because I love what I do.

I do it day and night, on the weekends.  I come in. I meet with victims after hours so that they don’t have to be inconvenienced.

But nobody cares about inconveniencing us. Nobody cares that we
have to take second jobs. Nobody knows about that because we are being portrayed as villains.

We have no union, we have no one to speak up for us. And that is why I am here, to speak up for us.

It is wrong…the way you frame things, the words you use are important.

People call it fairness…and they call it a contribution. I call it what it is, it is a tax.

Thank you.

The Speech Gets A Reaction

White was surprised by the response to her speech.  “People were clapping and cheering and coming over to shake my hand, she said.

Her boss, Sate Attorney Mike Satz, was thrilled.

“Anita did a great job explaining what we in the office are faced with, Satz said. “It’s always good when legislators hear the  story first-hand from other members of our office.

What is sad about Scott’s idea is that it will eventually force experienced assistant state attorneys and public defenders to leave public service when the economy gets better.  I say “public service because that is what both jobs are.

It is “public service to work long hours in the courthouse earning low salaries with law school loans hanging over your head.

The big cuts in take home pay are not confined to lawyers.  Lower paid workers, like secretaries, will suffer more.

Scott’s proposal should only be for new hires.  Anyone working now had promises made to them, as White so eloquently testified.

What will happen to White?

She told the in house newspaper at the State Attorney’s Office that the pension reform bills and other proposals “are going to affect how I’m able to live, whether I’m able to help my brother as he goes off to college and whether I’ll even be able to continue working here.

I know Scott, cloistered among millionaires and surrounded by his private body guards, doesn’t care about average Floridians.

His campaign slogan should have really been: “Let’s Get To Work…For Less.”

Scott won’t suffer if thousands of state workers get pay cuts or quit.  But if we lose experienced prosecutors like White, everybody else suffers.

And the streets just might be a little more dangerous.


White Testifies

Source: State Attorney’s Office

36 Responses to “Broward Prosecutor Takes On Gov. Scott”

  1. Its a Miracle says:

    Too Bad! The average working person in the private sector has taken a HUGE cut in pay over these last two years, why not public employees? Ask a plumber, electrician or carpenter if they make less now. Ask a waitress, barber or hairstylist if the tips they depend on are gone. Ask any person in sales if they make less now or then. Ask any newspaper reporter if they still have a steady job and good benefits or if they are now freelance contractors.

    Public employees have to wake up to the new reality. Wages and benefits are down across the board for the people who pay public employees, now, the public employees have to take their turn at getting a pay and benefit cut.

  2. S only says:

    Thank you Anita White for telling the Senate (and Scott) just how the public servants are being TAXED or being forced to take pay CUTS. How does government expect to get the best and brightest to work for them? I agree with Buddy: If this must be… Let the new hires, who haven’t been promised anything, contribute a little more. Better yet–TAX EVERYONE in Fla.(including business) not just the workers.

  3. Politico says:

    Hope everyone who voted for Scott is happy now.

  4. @It's a Miracle says:

    You are either myopic or have drank the teabagger Kool-aid.

    State prosecutors such as this one pay 100% of their benefits and pension plan right now. Pension is deferred compensation and essentially, these prosecutors, whom YOU RELY ON to keep scum off the street, give up significantly higher salaries in the private sector in exchange for a defined benefit later in life.

    So please keep shitting on state employees, because no matter what, there are some jobs you can’t privatize.

  5. Watcher says:

    maybe we’re putting a dent in the “mantra/lie” that government is bad….

  6. Broward Politico says:

    Kudos to Ms. White and to you Buddy for shining light on this important issue. Sadly, Rick Scott doesn’t care. Scott will try to do whatever he wants to and he just doesn’t care who gets hurt.
    Only the legislature and the courts
    can smack him down.

    P.S. I know the legislature is Republican like Scott, but they are turning on him. The good thing is Scott is a one term Guv.

  7. Its a Miracle says:

    Using the term “Tea Bagger” shows me just where you are coming from. It is disgusting that you would use a deviant sexual reference in responding to people with a legitimate political point. Further, you did not even read her words because she admits that she only contributes to her benefits, she does not pay 100% of them.

    If she feels that she can get a better paying job elsewhere, there is nothing compelling her to stay at the SAO. There are attorneys lining up to take her job already.

  8. Elroy_John says:

    Way to go Anita! Somehow Republicans have convinced a lot of folks that it’s public employees
    and not their own mismanagement (raiding trust funds, underfunding of education, failure to fix the tax code, etc.) over the past 15 years in Tallahassee that are to blame for Florida’s financial woes.

    Hopefully our elected democratic leaders (and the FEW reasonable republicans left in the legislature) will show some of the same fight you have during session.

  9. JD says:

    @It’s a Miracle Perhaps YOU are the one that needs to wake up. Did you realize that the people in these jobs took LESS money to begin with as a sacrifice to some of these jobs. The fact that our CLUELESS governor wants to do the same to teachers is ludicrous and it is people as myopic as yourselves should be ashamed if you voted for this clown. Watch 60 minutes from tonight and ask the governor why he is not helping kids who can not afford food, get food. You, need a dose of reality.

  10. Fake Name says:

    I work for the county so I understand exactly where she is coming from. But if there’s no money then there’s no money. The one thing I don’t understand is why no politician wants to address the real reasons for no money like wasteful spending for years, art in public places, drug rehabs that people use as a layover until they regroup and do it all over again, ETB, WIC, etc. People do need help, it’s not there to live on. I could go on forever, but this didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen from government employees only, it happened because of a lot of FAT CAT bureaucrats & entitlement programs.

  11. pineystride says:

    Dear It’s a Miracle:
    You chose a profession that didn’t come with the benefits and perks that certain other professions come with. That was your choice. Those who chose a profession where benefits were a part of the package (and work their asses off in those professions, I might add) are now getting those benefits ripped away from them. Quit whining that they are now standing up for themselves.

  12. Floridan says:

    The GOP’s self-fulfilling prophecy: claim that government is not competent, then cut wages, benefits and work conditions to the point that you chase away everyone with with the skills to get the job done.

    “See we told you government was incompetent!”

    As for people like Its a Miracle, wouldn’t it make more sense to direct your ire at the compnies that have, over the years, cut employees, reduced benefits and eliminated pension plans, rather than blame teachers, DCF case workers and FHP troopers for resisting this race to the bottom?

  13. Miss Leyritz says:

    How many rapists and murderers went free while she was galavanting in Tallahassee on the State’s dime? If the Broward prosecutors could successfully convict someone once in a while maybe they would deserve a raise. Right now taxpayers are paying for nothing but corruption and incompetence.

  14. Adriana Alcalde says:

    Who do you want prosecuting criminals? Someone with no experience? That is what you will get with all these cuts. Prosecutors like Anita White work there because they love it. She could make more money going private, however she loves being a prosecutor. Most prosecutors do what we do because we love it, not to be rich. However, if there are more cuts we will no longer be able to afford to do the work we love. Losing attorneys like Anita White is a win for the criminals. Miracle, I hope that you realize that without experienced prosecutors, the streets will be less safe.

  15. Adriana Alcalde says:

    @miss leyritz- if you read the article carefully you would see that she took a personal day to go there. She was not on state time. By the way if you do your homework Anita White has a great conviction rate and is a great and fair prosecutor who works very hard and cares about all her victims. You should educate yourself on the topics you wish to speak about. Or at least read the article you are commenting on

  16. Floridan says:

    Found elsewhere on the internet, but apropos to the current discussion:

    A CEO, a Tea Party member and a teacher are given a plate of a dozen cookies. The CEO takes 11 of them, and tells the Tea Party member “be careful, the teacher wants part of your cookie.”

  17. Mari says:

    My cousin was the victim. The prosecutor was not this one but he lost.

    There was no reason.

  18. Patriot says:

    At “Miss Leyritz says:” Thank you Adriana for stating what I was about to regarding this ignorant-probably voted for Scott-dimwit. AND big fat kudos to Ms. White! Even Satz complemented her, well hey Satz, why dont you fight for your people too? When someone gets hired at a rediculously low salary and the benefits are part of the pay, then they deserve to keep it, not take a PAYCUT. I cannot wait for Scott to leave office. He will rape our state like none before and by the way, so glad he could INCREASE his office budget, lord knows he has a lot of plans to take money in every direction. Who in their right mind trusts him or thinks that this guy isnt there to make more money with privatizing, cutting state programs, next the taxes in Broward will go to 7% or more.
    ignorance is bliss, right Miss Leyritz?

  19. hipster says:

    Too bad Ms. White does not get it. There is no more middle class and there are no more middle class jobs. Kinda strange my income has dropped, my health insurance cost went up, and my taxes went up. So based upon reasoning I have taken 3 paycuts. Of course no one is crying for me, no one is saying that I am entitled to my benefits, and the slant of this discussion seems to be I as a private worker need to suffer more so Ms. White doesn’t. Hogwash.

  20. Tony Moss says:

    Reading posts like the one from It’s a Miracle make me think of this scene: a CEO, a Tea Party member, and a public worker, are sitting at a table. On the table is a plate with a dozen cookies. The CEO takes 11 cookies, then tells the Tea Partier, “Watch out, that dude wants to take some of your cookie.”


  21. pineystride says:

    ermmm, no, hipster, no one is saying you should be satisfied with less because you are in “private” industry. Quite to the contrary: you should be treated as a valued worker, just like everyone else should. Blaming “gov’t” workers simply because their employer is the gov’t is just blaming someone in the same boat as you. If you want to blame someone, look to the fatcats on wall street who helped to fabricate an entire economy which later collapsed but from which the wall street fatcats gained from enormously.

  22. The Long Black Robe (ret) says:

    Missing from the debate is that Ms. White is a public servant doing a hard, vital and sometimes disagreeable job. All she gets in return is continued cuts in her take home pay.
    If private industry cuts benefits and pay for their employees, the employee can move on. If people like Ms. White moves on, we are all worse off.

  23. Public Service says:

    If Rick Scott wants to run the government like a business, then pay government lawyers the same as business lawyers. I bet Anita White and every other government lawyer would give up the pension and every other benefit to be paid $300/hour. Otherwise recognize that these lawyers are doing PUBLIC SERVICE by working for less than market wages and stop hassling them.

  24. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Although what this Ast. state Att. said in Tallahasee has merit the average joe would say if you don’t like the guide lines or pending new rules pertaining to her retirement contributions she could quit.I say let them all go into a 401k system and be done w/ this whole goodie package. You know Buddy it was revealed in the paper over the weekend this one Hollywood employee got almost a million dolars when he retired and he then will receive over a hundred grand a year. And what has the average joe (like myself-no silver-spoon(seiler)hasevery one fuming is the fact that this man is only 46. I mean can you see why the taxpayer is furious. Plus this Attorney was paid by using her vacation time(annual leave). Last time I checked when I go before the County or City I do not get compensated by my boss.This whole benefit package these City,County, nd State workers get is bankrupting the State. Although I am a big supporter for our employees i think the whole system needs to be modified. I like Mayor Bloomberg package in NYC pertaining to this subject. Time will tell.

  25. Len says:

    These benefits don’t exist anywhere in the private sector.

    Many of the “public servants” went to mediocre law schools or graduated at the bottom of the class. They are lucky to have these jobs.

    It is a market economy. A fact of life.

    Stop whining or get the head man to pay a living wage. I imagine the office of the state attorney is top heavy with overpaid and underperforming lawyers. It could possibly be solved by modern management techniques or by hiring better candidates at higher wages off the bat who can handle higher workloads more effectively.

  26. Floridan says:

    I am amazed that those who support Scott’s moves to cut government employees’ pay/benefits seem to be motivated by the feeling that “hey, I got screwed . . . why shouldn’t everyone?”

    The bigger question, though, is why don’t more workers in the private sector organize and fight for their livlihoods?

    Oh yeah, I forgot, they’re against unions.

    The laughter you hear is from Scott and his cronies.

    A very good point….

  27. JD says:

    @Len, do you have verifiable proof of your claim of where these attorneys went to school? I doubt it. Graduate from the bottom of their class? I am sure you have access to those records yourself? You speak like you born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Do you work for a living or since you graduated from a top law school and at the top of your class, you just print money?

  28. pineystride says:

    @ Len,
    In the real world Len, there are many private companies which provide excellent benefits, many of which are better than the public sector, including stock options etc. Too bad you picked one which offers crappy benefits.

  29. Kevin says:

    Some of you might not realize this, but most University professors in the state univs in Florida ARE in a 401(k) system. I’ve been in mine for 18 years. We pick, when we are hired, whether to go into the Florida Retirement System or have part of our salary matched in a 401(k). I chose the latter in 1993 because I did not trust politicians with the pension system.

    It would not save the state one dime to mess with that…. but of course people like Rick Scott really are not interested in details, I guess.

  30. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Floridan:

    As always you make an insightful point. I’m struck by how little has been written that during the last economic boom, American private sector workers did not fare as well in terms of salary as is usually the case when the economy heats up.

    Private sector salaries and wages over that ten year run rose only marginally compared to profits and economic growth even though the cost of living rose sharply.

    Yet during that same period government workers continued getting their boring 3% annual cost of living adjustments in furtherance of a paradigm loooong established nationally — public sector workers are paid less than their private sector counterparts in return for better pensions tomorrow. Those pensions are earned on the basis of worker contributions, modest government matches, and lots of interest earned in the market. It’s a simple recipe and it’s worked for decades. Few had a problem with it.

    But during the past 10 years the paradigm shifted, private sector salaries started losing pace as government salaries began catching up. Evidence? When the recession hit, privatization became an attractive option for government? Why? Same work less cost. It’s not supposed to work that way.

    The fact it did proves my point. But are we going to blame government for that? People keep asking where “all that money” went in government. Where the hell did it go in the private sector? Who’s asking that?

    And just around that time John Q. Private started getting pissed off. The “media” started telling old John that those damned government people were making more money than him — that real, hard working Americans like John were getting screwed by the government. What a magically well orchestrated diversion that was.

    You see, it was all part of government’s well documented, totally factual, undeniably socialist plot to destroy our nation. After all, who has a greater stake in seeing America fall than the government itself.

    And worse, all of this socialism is was being financed on “John’s tab.”

    Editorial Note: Anytime possessive pronouns get inserted into irrational discussions about money during a recession, expect things to start getting ugly.

    Meanwhile, John may be all pumped up for the moment, but not one bit of this helps old John get even an inch closer to a better situation. Lost in his fit of rage, John doesn’t realize that all he’s doing is bringing what’s left of America down into the pit of despair with him.

    Yes. It’s true. A tax reduction resulting from decreases in government worker pay might help John a little. Not much. Perhaps he could save $100. Maybe $125. Would that really do the trick for John? Please.

    No matter, John has contributed to a growing national mindset that he will inevitably regret in time.

    Let’s zip foward in time to when John is the ripe age of 75.

    He can’t work anymore and sadly finds that his projected retirements savings are insufficient. He can’t afford to live the retirements he had hoped for. Healthcare is a huge expense because he couldn’t stand the thought of reform 25 years before. It was socialist damn it.

    Just about then he faces a cold and cruel choice. He can eat this month or afford his medications.

    That’s about the time he’ll need those $125 he saved us back in 2011. Do you think it will be enough?

    Social security? Medicare? All those hose hateful, socialist, entitlement programs? All gone in 2011 and good riddance. We were pretty smart back then, weren’t we.

    Pensions? Nah. That old concept was also also socialist tool, used to hold us back. We put our trust in investment bankers on Wall Street, like real Americans should do. Problem is the market tanked a few times and there went our 401k plans. But hey, that $125 will come in handy.

    Here’s a comforting thought, modern science has extended our lives by another 10 or 15 years.

    But how will we live those years without a safety net or entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, or affordable healthcare?
    What if we’re unlucky with our retirement savings and have nothing?

    Somebody had better wake the hell up because 25 years from now is TOMORROW.

    None of this is to suggest that government pensions don’t need adjusting. God knows that the government is not perfect and for damned sure the private sector is no bargain either. There’s plenty of work to keep us all busy.

    But all this focus on government pay when so little focus is on private sector pay is unbalanced.

    We need to find a way to reconnect to the old paradigm. America needs to step back and take a wide lens angle shot of where we stand as a nation. We have serious issues that our constant bickering won’t resolve. There’s too much heat in our dialogue and not enough light. Our futures depend on our ability to act like thinking adults again.

    By the way, I like the cookie analogy above. It says a lot.



  31. Proud to Serve says:

    It is easy to suggest that the whole public service system is broke because, as Ms. Layritz says, “taxpayers are paying for nothing but corruption and incompetence”. But the fact is that there is a whole lot more than corruption and incompetence going on in your local governments. Does clean water come out of your faucet? Does your phone call get answered when you call 911? Are the traffic lights working? These, and plenty of other services, are brought to you by thousands of people who care about their jobs and the communities they serve. Everyone wants their government to run efficiently and cost-effectively. Guess what? You have to pay people to do that. This community is very lucky to have a lot of smart and dedicated professionals that try every day to make a difference. We are not from mediocre colleges, as Len states, and while we are fortunate to be employed when so many are not, please do not tell me that I am “lucky to have” my job. I pour my heart and soul into my job – and for far more hours than I am paid for – because it is what I love to do. The taxpayers get more than their money’s worth out of me and many of my colleagues. Do not think that all public servants are greedy and incompetent because, I assure you, we are not.

  32. Its a Miracle says:

    When I first heard it, I thought it was a very trite line. Eventually I learned it was true, “Liberalism is a mental disorder”. Taxpayers are losing their homes, bankruptcies are at record levels, state revenues are down, but that means nothing to liberals. Conservatives believe in Christmas, while liberals believe in Santa Claus. Only a liberal thinks that reality does not count when it comes to public employee benefits. The money is not there and Santa is not going to make up the difference.

    Go ahead and wail and stamp your feet. Cry all you want but it won’t fill the states coffers to pay for continued largess, and just like conservatives will have to deal with Obama until the end of his term, Florida liberals will have to deal with a Republican legislature and conservative governor for years to come.

  33. Floridan says:

    @Its [sic] a Miracle: Sorry, but you are falling for a con game — I’ll believe the state budget is tight when the Gov. stops handing out tax breaks.

    The attitude in Tallahassee is that the rich and big businesses need to be protected, but the middle class teachers, garbage collectors and water treatment plant workers are just being greedy if they don’t step forward to make a sacrifice.

  34. Robin says:

    Hey Rick Scott, Or shall I call you “Its a Miracle” you have no clue. Answer why the governers budget has more than doubled, staff more than double, yet he has cut more than a 1000 positions, including chilsd protection investigators, from Children and Famlies. those figures are from his own web site. Teabaggers, hum, deviant is what deviant does, the tea party are a bunch of deviants so it fits, they are deviating from reason.

  35. Robin says:

    Len, Len, Len, please get a grip. I am a private attorney, doing defence work. Left the state along time ago, I make about 3.5 x what the state guys do. Dont be such a mindless slob, the state of Florida couldnt afford to pay what the private sector does, are you really that dense?

  36. Dana Hotchkiss says:

    Great story. Hopefully Gov. Christ will be re-elected to a 3rd term as a Democrat.
    Scott was in the same FSU football box
    He came w/ about 4 other guys, all shaved heads like his and I didn’t notice them speaking to anyone outside of their entourage at all.
    Are you Peggy’s brother?


    Yes, Peggy is my sister