Daytona Beach commissioner proposes changes to confidentiality law for companies

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Right now, Florida state law allows companies to keep their names confidential, sometimes until leaders get to vote on construction plans.

Amazon used the law before getting a deal for a new Daytona Beach facility late last year.

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Daytona Beach City Commissioner Ken Strickland is now calling for more transparency.

He says the public and the city should know well ahead of time the details before any deal like this gets approved.

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Strickland wants any company choosing to keep its name confidential on its application with the city of Daytona Beach to reveal itself publicly at least two weeks before any vote can happen.

“We have a real problem already with the optics of our elected officials keeping secrets, not enough transparency,” Strickland said.

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Strickland said his proposal gives people and commissioners more time to evaluate these deals.

“It would make it a lot better for our residents, a lot easier for them to accept what’s going on, if they have information in advance, and we don’t have that right now,” he said.

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Bethune Cookman University College of Business Dean Lawrence Drake said the confidentiality law keeps a company’s competitors from being tipped off and therefore leveraging and taking advantage of the deal.

Drake adds while the company’s name may be a secret, its plans typically are not, and this proposal could turn some companies away.

“We constantly hear Volusia County and Daytona Beach is looking to grow and looking to expand its economic development platform. Then if that’s the case, putting up new barriers is probably not the best thing,” Drake said.

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Drake said how soon an impact could be felt would depend on what deals are in the pipeline. Strickland wants to see the proposal brought up next month.

Channel 9 reached out to Amazon and asked how this proposal could affect future deals it does with the city of Daytona Beach. We will update this story when we get a response.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.