Live Oak —
A question posed by County Administrator Randy Harris at a December Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners meeting concerning catalyst site regulations turned into a discussion about confidentiality agreements between the county and a business seeking to locate in Suwannee County.
Harris briefly mentioned a business employing approximately 15-20 people is seeking to locate at the catalyst site. Local resident Lori McCraney asked for the type of industry and what would be stored at this proposed company’s site.
Dennis Cason, former president of the Suwannee County Economic Alliance, said he, nor the board, was able to render the information due to a signed confidentiality agreement between the county and the company.
“I think the public has the right to know what companies will be affecting where the people live and work,” McCraney said. “The people have a right to be a part of the process.”
The Democrat contacted Cason prior to his recent retirement and asked him about the economic development process and why a county cannot provide information about a potential company.
Suwannee Democrat (SD): What is the purpose of a confidentiality agreement between the county and
Dennis Cason (DC): A confidentiality agreement performs several functions. First and foremost it protects sensitive information from disclosure to others. For a number of reasons, companies do not want their competitors to be aware of their potential plans before they have made a final decision.
Florida Statute 288.075 (see:http://www.lawserver.com/law/state/florida/statutes/florida_statutes_288-075) provides that upon written request of the client, an economic development agency may hold as confidential certain information provided by the client. This information includes plans, intentions and interests, trade secrets and other proprietary confidential business information, etc. of the entity. Seeking this confidentiality is routinely done by businesses seeking to expand or relocate in Florida.