TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Government leaders are investigating a website called Transparency 2.0, that was developed to track exactly how state money is spent.
Former Senate President Mike Haridopolos spent $5 million of his office budget to develop it for Florida's senators last year, but Action News has learned he didn't request bids from any other companies.
In addition, when the site was activated in January, none of Florida's senators were made aware, including newly elected Senate President Don Gaetz.
According to a memo released Friday, Gaetz learned about the site when sworn into office on Nov. 20. He also learned that the site will shut down if the contract isn't renewed by Dec. 30, at a cost of $1 million per year for only 600 licenses.
Some believe the site is worth keeping if the public is also gets access as well.
"We have a financial problem in the state of Florida and the idea of tossing aside $5 million on an excellent program is deeply concerning," says Barbara Petersen, President of Florida's First Amendment Foundation. "To say we're going to have this public record, but not provide public access creates some legal problems, and it's also very shortsighted."
That cost, however, has yet to be determined. Florida already has two sites that provide financial information (TransparencyFlorida.gov and MyFloridaCFO.com), and Senator Audrey Gibson believes that's enough.
"Nothing in government is secret," she told Action News. "It's the people's money, and if they want information, the state will provide it. This site isn't necessary."
She believes the state should let the Transparency 2.0 site expire and instead, focus on how a multi-million dollar contract was awarded without a fair bidding process.
"When you have no-bid contracts, or unknown contracts, everyone doesn't have the opportunity to participate."