- FNGLA Newshttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/?z=2FNGLA news articles for all web users to see.TPIE Brought Inspiration, Innovation and Creativity!http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=10426Wed, 29 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMTInspire, Innovate and Create at TPIE 2014!http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=10423Wed, 01 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMTBusiness Was Blooming at The Landscape Showhttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=9413Wed, 25 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMTThe Landscape Show Takes Place September 19 - 21 in Orlandohttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=9412Wed, 18 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMTFlorida Citrus Nurseries Running At Full Capacityhttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=9399Mon, 20 May 2013 00:00:00 GMTFlorida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) Announces 2012 Industry Award Winnershttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=9392Wed, 17 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA Sadly Reports Member Deathhttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=9386Thu, 04 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA, OFA, and PLANET Announce Educational Partnership http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=4362Mon, 27 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA Announces 2012 Industry Award Winnershttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=314Wed, 18 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA's Landscape Awards are Back!http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=309Fri, 16 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA Announces the 2012 Florida Garden Select Plantshttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=298Thu, 09 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMTTPIE 2012 was a Tropical Escape! http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=292Thu, 26 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMTBen's Bullets: January 3, 2012http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=323Tuesday, Janaury 3, 2012The Great Southern Tree Conferece Pre-Registration Pricing Ends November 18: Register Today!http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=270Wed, 09 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT2012 Starts with a Tropical Escapehttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=268Thu, 03 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMTIt was Full Sail Ahead at The Landscape Showhttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=264Fri, 14 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMTIt’s Full Sail Ahead at The Landscape ShowSeptember will be here before you know it and with it comes The Landscape Show! Mark your calendar now to attend Florida’s premier trade show for the nursery and landscape industry, September 29 – October 1 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.

                                      

Everyone’s business is changing and evolving in the new economy. There’s no better place than The Landscape Show to gain the resources and information to move your business Full Sail Ahead.  The Landscape Show offers the most convenient, affordable venue to meet vendors, take classes, get new ideas, network with colleagues and keep up with the latest trends and forecasts.

 

Complimentary Opening Session: Adam Putnam, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Take advantage of The Landscape Show’s complimentary opening session, sponsored by Farm Credit, to meet Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and hear how this bright and dynamic state leader is working to move Florida agriculture and consequently Florida’s economy forward. If you’ve heard Adam Putnam speak before, you know this is a session not to miss! If you haven’t heard him speak, this is your opportunity to be engaged and encouraged by Adam’s real-world views and the exciting opportunities he sees for Florida agriculture, including the nursery and landscape industry.

 

Outdoor Equipment Area

New this year at The Landscape Show will be outdoor exhibits for those equipment dealers who wish to demonstrate their machines! Here’s your chance to not only see the latest landscape equipment, but actually try it out. Located near the parking area of the convention center, a limited number of exhibitors will have equipment available to test ride. Try before you buy!

 

Top-Notch Short Course Sessions Planned for The Landscape Show

Education excels at The Landscape Show with a multi-track program available through the FNGLA Short Course, as well as product and informational demonstrations. See the newest products and meet new exhibitors who are eager to learn about your business needs.

 

While at The Landscape Show, expand your knowledge and take part in the top-notch FNGLA Short Course! Learn from leading experts on everything from current economic conditions to the latest trends in landscapes.  A combination of general sessions and targeted breakouts in the areas of landscape design, landscape maintenance, merchandising/marketing and plants/products are offered.

 

Key

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

1:00 – 4:00 PM

Orlando Landscape Tour

Orlando has some of the most state-of-the-art landscapes in the State of Florida and this tour will give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what it takes to design, install and maintain these gardens and landscapes. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. BREAKOUTS

Design Like An Artist

Gary Smith, W. Gary Smith Design, Austin, TX

While designers solve problems, artists raise questions. Step beyond making “solutions” in garden design and explore a world where there are more questions than answers. With his award-winning work in botanic gardens and arboreta, landscape architect Gary Smith blends artistry with sustainability. After observing the visual vocabulary of patterns and processes that drive the Universe, you’ll learn some simple graphic techniques for recording it all. Unleash the artist within yourself, and make meaningful gardens that express the relationship between the site and your own creative spirit.

 

Ten Most Common Mistakes in the Landscape

Lloyd Singleton, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Looking for a solution? This session will not only look at common mistakes in the landscape, but provide practical ways to eliminate, fix or improve.

 

Outrageous Marketing: How to Create Outrageously Effective Marketing Materials

Ron Rosenberg, QualityTalk, Inc., Raleigh, NC

Getting the same tired results from your marketing materials? It’s probably because your sales letters, magazine ads, and brochures look just like everyone else’s. Isn’t it time to try something different…and incredibly effective? In this highly interactive and entertaining workshop, you’ll learn how to apply Ron Rosenberg’s outrageous marketing strategies to improve the effectiveness of your own marketing communications.

 

Show Stopping New Varieties

Heather Will-Browne and Melissa Shepherd, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Spring exploded with lots of color at the 2011 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. This year, Walt Disney World (WDW) helped tell the story of how plants get their start at FNGLA’s Floriculture Field Days. Evaluators Heather and Melissa will share with you some great finds to incorporate into your designs or add to your inventory.

 

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. LUNCHEON

The Road to Remarkable

Doug Stephens, Retail Prophet Consulting, Toronto, Ontario

Consumers have less time and more choices. Success today means being remarkable and standing out from the competition. Remarkable businesses develop a loyal following, uncontested market space and ultimately survive the test of time. The Road to Remarkable will spark your company’s imagination providing proven strategies to move your business from ordinary to extraordinary.

 

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. AM BREAKOUTS

Designing for Maturity

Phil Maddux, Sanchez and Maddux, Inc., Palm Beach, FL

When starting a new landscape design, how much thought goes into the way the landscape will look in 15 years? Phil Maddux, a landscape architect in South Florida, has spent many years specializing in residential and estate master planning. Come see how the elegance of classic gardens immersed in lush foliage can withstand the test of times.

 

Practical Biological Control for the Florida Horticulture Industry

Identifying key pests in your ornamental/nursery system, and the available beneficial insects, mites, or nematodes that could help control these pests, is the focus of this two-part educational session sponsored by the Association of Natural Biocontrol Producers (ANBP)*.  Experts will present targeted talks that zero in on your most important plant pests emphasizing pest identification, natural enemies that are commercially available, and techniques for proper timing and application to maximize control. 

 

 

The Business Owner’s Survival Kit  

Ron Rosenberg, QualityTalk, Inc., Raleigh, NC

Come hear seven proven strategies to get more done, grow your business, and take back your life! You’re under constant pressure from the realities of the economy, the difficulties of finding qualified staff, and the overwhelming weight of being responsible for the long-term success of your organization. Despite your best efforts, you always seem to run from one crisis to the next, never truly finding the time to implement all the great ideas you know will grow your business. In this highly interactive program you’ll discover proven, in-the-trenches and easy-to-implement strategies to keep your business strong.

 

Care and Maintenance of Palms

Tim Broschat and Monica Elliott, University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale, FL

This session will look at the installation and maintenance of palms in the landscape including a segment on disease issues that are specific to palms.

 

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. BREAKOUTS

Using Inspiration for Realistic Landscapes

Carla Shuman, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Where does the inspiration come from when creating realistic landscapes? Are there key elements around which every design is built? Or does the inspiration build the design? Carla Shuman, Walt Disney World landscape architect, will share what goes into the behind-the-scenes planning of many gardens for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

 

Going Green with Your Fleet - Alternatives Fuel Sources

David Rigney, Heritage Propane, Port Orange, FL; Randy Coventry, Roberts’ Supply, Winter Park, FL; and Glen Hammond, Gardner, Inc., Jacksonville, FL

Are you looking to sharpen your numbers on fuel costs? Do you know alternatives to what you are currently using? This session will look at LP, diesel and fuel-injection options to make your fleet run more efficiently and be more environmentally conscious.

 

It’s A Wired, Wired World: The Future of Retail Technology

Doug Stephens, Retail Prophet Consulting, Toronto, Ontario

Today’s tech-savvy customer may know more about your products than your best-trained staff. Technology is changing the way consumers shop and, most importantly, it’s arming them with unprecedented amounts of information. Attendees will gain a fascinating view of key technologies shaping the future of retailing and consumerism, as well as a framework for deciding which are the best technologies in which to invest.

 

Sexy Succulents Take the Heat! Tips for Success with These Hot Plants

Mark Russell, SeaWorld, Orlando, FL and Kristin Pategas, Hortus Oasis, Winter Park, FL

Succulents are great in a landscape design or featured in a container. Mark Russell will share insight as to how SeaWorld incorporated succulents into its new SeaGarden and discuss the maintenance program. Kristin Pategas will show how creative use of succulents in containers will jazz up any outdoor living space.

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. BREAKOUTS

Shabby Chic to Recycled Art

Carol Reese, University of Tennessee, Jackson, TN

Ever think about adding windows, bicycles, stoves or old trucks to your designs. This presentation will show you how to turn shabby into chic and create some very elegant designs. Come see how to create fabulous new landscapes with plain old stuff. It is fun, affordable and maybe a little far out. This will be a session not to miss!

 

Sustainable Maintenance of Turf in the Landscape

Lee Bloomcamp, Syngenta, Gainesville, FL

Properly managed turf can enhance landscape aesthetics and space utilization.  This session will offer practical information on how to manage turf as part of the landscape.  See how selection of the suitable turf species, and appropriate maintenance play an important role in the success of the modern landscape. 

 

 

Enhancing Your Marketing with Video

Chris Beytes, Ball Publishing, Chicago, IL

Are you looking for ways to stretch your marketing dollars? You don’t have to hire a movie crew. Chris Beytes will show attendees some great tips for making short in-house videos for Youtube and share how industry is using as an easy marketing tool.

 

Edible Landscapes: Fruit and Espalier

Paul Fisher, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL and Robert Bowden, Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando, FL

As the theme “Home Grown” still remains in the minds of today’s consumers, Dr. Paul Fisher will highlight some of the new varieties of fruits being developed at the University of Florida.  And, Robert Bowden will offer instruction on a special technique called espalier. Espalier can be used not only as a decorative element in landscape designs but for gardens with limited space.  It’s just another way to incorporate edibles in the landscapes.

 

10:15 a.m. -11:15 a.m. BREAKOUTS

Make Your Container Gardens Sizzle

Sharon Lovejoy, South Bristol, ME

Sharon Lovejoy is an award-winning author and illustrator, including recognition from the American Nursery and Landscape Association. For 13 years, Sharon was a contributing editor for Country Living Gardener magazine with an award-winning feature column. She currently is a regional contributor for Lowe’s home improvement. Her homes and garden designs have been featured in countless books and magazines throughout this country, England, and Japan. Come hear what inspires her container gardens.

 

Case Study: Techniques for Efficient Irrigation Water Use  

Dr. Michael Dukes, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

This session will provide an overview of Dr. Dukes’ research on residential irrigation water use in Florida. Dr. Dukes will offer landscape professionals insights on design, efficiency, optimization of irrigation systems and key things to help their residential customers be more successful with their landscapes. The use of smart irrigation control technologies will be highlighted.

 

Making Your Own Road to Success

A panel of industry members will be invited to share their insights on how they have remained successful through the economy’s recession and recovery. Come see how they’ve sharpened their pencils and kept their business running smoothly.

 

Integrating Natives in Formal Settings

Sponsored by Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN)

Craig Huegel, Ecological Services Associates, LLC, Seminole, FL

Come learn how you can install beautiful, practical landscapes in a formal setting while conserving natural resources and restoring wildlife habitat. Learn about native trees and shrubs which perform well in the landscape and provide great food and resources for a variety of residents and migratory birds and butterflies.

 

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. - LUNCHEON

Botanical Version of Peyton Place

Carol Reese, University of Tennessee, Jackson, TN

After this luncheon session, your outdoor walks will never be the same. Carol’s talk will not only indelibly remind you that flowers are sex organs; she will expose the more deviant forms. Beyond the blooms are bizarre stories of the sex lives of frogs, dragonflies, bees, butterflies and moths. Yes, Carol does make it funny, but it is actually a wonderful trip through the intimate interactions just outside the window, and the only frontal nudity is of flower parts and garden statuary.  In addition, you will get some fabulous ideas on garden design from Carol’s slides of gorgeous plants and imaginative structures.

 

 

The Landscape Show/SHARE Golf Tournament

Get your game on, golf game that is, at The Landscape Show/SHARE Golf Tournament! Taking place on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 held at Marriott's Grande Pines Golf Club in Orlando, FL.

This annual fundraiser, hosted by FNGLA's Allied Division, all proceeds from the annual golf tournament will benefit the FNGLA Endowed Research Fund in the University of Florida's Foundation. The division has raised a grand total of $155,000 since 1994 through the golf classic.

More fun has been added to the tournament with package prices for mulligans, red tee shots and a new Par Three Challenge. Registration includes green and cart fees and lunch. Awards will be given to the top three teams, closest to the pin and longest drive.

 

About FNGLA & The Landscape Show

Plans for an even larger 2012 The Landscape Show are already in the works.  The trade show returns September 27 - 29, 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

 

The Landscape Show is produced by the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA). FNGLA represents Florida's nursery and landscape industry, with an estimated $15.2 billion in industry-wide sales. For more information contact FNGLA at 1533 Park Center Dr., Orlando, FL, 32835.
info@fngla.org, (800) 375-3642

 

###

 

Editor’s Note: For pictures of 2011’s The Landscape Show, visit www.thelandscapeshow.org post-show or contact Jennifer Nelis, jnelis@fngla.org for images and details

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Live show updates will be provided via Facebook at www.fngla.org/FNGLA or via Twitter at www.twitter.com/FNGLA.

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http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=245Wed, 07 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT
Plants: Special Agent "Air Cleaners" Reporting for Duty -- News from NFFhttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=224Thu, 09 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMTNominate your Favorite Plant as a 2012 Florida Garden Selecthttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=220Thu, 02 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA Committee Nominates New Officershttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=214Wed, 25 May 2011 00:00:00 GMTDiscounted I-9 Webinar to FNGLA Membershttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=211Thu, 19 May 2011 00:00:00 GMTFloriculture Field Days & Performance Trials Inspires Attendees at Epcothttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=209Thu, 19 May 2011 00:00:00 GMTWhat a Session! FNGLA's Legislative "Round-Up" for Florida's Nursery & Landscape Businesseshttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=204Tue, 10 May 2011 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA Grassroots Action Needed: Immigration Alerthttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=190Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA Announces 2011 Industry Award Winnershttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=177Tue, 05 Apr 2011 00:00:00 GMTRegistration Now Open for FNGLA's Floriculture Field Days and Performance Trialshttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=175Tue, 29 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMTUrgent FNGLA Legislative Updatehttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=171Thu, 24 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMTFNGLA Saddened by Loss of FNGLA Members' Sonhttp://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=163Mon, 07 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMTComments to the Select Committee of ImmigrationFlorida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA)
By: Jim Spratt; Director of Government Affairs

Good afternoon. Thank you for providing the opportunity to discuss the very emotional and very difficult issue of Immigration. Over the past weeks, this Committee has seen reams of data and heard hours of testimony on the merits and pitfalls of Florida-specific Immigration Laws. First, we can be reasonably certain that any bill passed by the Legislature will produce some associated unintended consequences. Second, until our friends in Washington D.C get off their “duff” and pass meaningful comprehensive immigration reform, I fear our “solutions” at the state level will be mere Band-Aids!

In previous weeks, the Committee heard testimony regarding the E-Verify system, current Department of Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement “ICE”) enforcement actions, as well as several academic presentations on potential solutions, or lack thereof, available to the State of Florida. At this time, I wish to provide the Committee with some very specific examples of the actual functionality of the current Federal system.

Example 1: Immigrant Legal Status Petition Process
An employee of a nursery operation in Central Florida began his path to legal resident status in 1993. This individual had collected all of the necessary paperwork and had the appropriate petitioner(s) to submit his application. On November 23, 1993 the individual paid the processing fee and submitted his application. On December 4, 1993 he received official notice that his application had been approved. Two weeks, not so bad….. However, his final paper work has never been processed by the Department of Homeland Security. Every six months since December 1993, this individual has traveled to the Homeland Security Office in Tampa only to be informed this final application/ paperwork has not been processed. During a visit to the Tampa office in March 2010, he was informed it was not yet his time to be processed as the Department of Homeland Security was only up to June 1992 applications! The quick math on the wait time is closing in on 18 years! Obviously, he doesn’t have a driver’s license and he could get picked up at any time. Yet, this individual has followed every step of the legal process to gain legal resident status. The immigration system fails this test.

Example 2: Guest Worker Program, specifically the H-2A Program for Agricultural Producers
The Committee heard brief testimony on the various guest worker programs currently available to different industries. For agricultural producers, the guest worker program is the H-2A program. Although there are many substantial provisions and hurdles through which a grower must jump to demonstrate the need for these “H-2A” guest workers, I wish to focus on a couple of aspects which don’t usually make the “presentations!” First, growers who apply for H-2A guest workers must provide housing for them. Yet, in at least three Florida counties (Santa Rosa, Hardee and Polk), the local governments refused to grant the comprehensive plan changes or issue the permits to growers who are diligently trying to follow “the system.” Again the federal-to-state-to-local system has totally malfunctioned and the growers in these instances has little recourse and, probably even less time, if they are trying to bring in these workers for time-sensitive crop harvesting.

Another mandatory provision associated with the H-2A program understands is the employer is responsible for transportation to and from the guest worker’s country of origin. Again, this sounds reasonable, however a north Florida grower took a chance on H-2A workers and found himself in a very dicey situation. The grower contracted with a bus to travel to Mexico to pick up the 20 +/- employees who were identified and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to come to this country under the H-2A program. After picking up the individuals, the grower was stopped at four different check-points within Mexico. At each stop the police/guards demanded the documentation of the “guest workers.” The police/guards’ intent was to confiscate the identification documents. However, American cash was even better than the IDs. Yes, you heard correctly. The average payment to the “guards” at each of the four stops $1,500 US dollars. And, at the last checkpoint before the border, the grower had the privilege of being face-to-face with an assault rifle! Please bear in mind there wasn’t a legal reason to stop the bus, yet this seems to be business as usual south of the border!

Example 3: Immigration and Customs Enforcement- Raids and Business Compliance
As the Committee heard previously, ICE has a very targeted and specific mission to enforce US immigration laws. This also includes place of business audits and checks. In September 2010, a north Florida grower had a visit by our friends at ICE. Please do not be fooled into thinking ICE is lax on fulfilling its responsibilities. In fact, I submit to you that some of the Special Agents take great pride in running businesses through the ringer with fines and penalties. The result of the on-site check of September 2010 found 27 counts of improperly filling out the I-9 form which we all know are required for all employees. The monetary fine associated with these errors totaled $17, 151.75. So, you might be thinking this information is good and demonstrates the system works. However, these fines were for items such as the Employee’s birthday or maiden name was missing, business name missing, employee start-date missing and failure to use the most updated I-9 form. In many of these instances, the information was actually on the I-9 form! However, it was entered a space above, or a space below, the designated box. $17,000 and some change for clerical paperwork errors!

Example 4: E-Verify the Answer to Our Problems…. Well Maybe Not!
I wish to share with you one grower’s experience with the E-Verify train wreck. What follows are the grower’s actual comments dated March 13, 2010:

“For many years, we followed all the rules for hiring by using the employment verification form (I-9 form), dealt with intermittent “SSA” no-match letters, and more recently the ICE raids of companies in our area. Now, with the new clamp-down with DHS audits on employers, we decided to switch to E-Verify.

We thought we would feel at least more secure since we are assured by the US government that those we hire do have the correct paperwork. With the increased unemployment, we assumed there would be a steady stream of willing and “legal” labor. However, even with 10% unemployment, we are having a hard time finding a “documented” labor force.

Little did we know, it has now become clear that we just invited another bureaucratic “Trojan horse” into our business. We now can use E-Verify (a.k.a “the System”) only after we have hired the new employee. We are not allowed to use it for re-verification of existing employees or those who have worked for us during the last three years.

Friday, one week ago, of the 22 new people hired, only three passed E-Verify “without problems.” We have to print and file with the I-9 a copy of the case details for every new hire to show we have used E-Verify since we cannot apply the procedure selectively. After hiring, we start our new employee orientation and training, which is a waste if the person turns out to have the wrong documentation.

For 12 of the new employees, we did receive a “tentative non-confirmation” from the Social Security Administration (SSA) part of E-Verify. This means we have to get those 12 who just started working, back to the office, and explain to each individual the options. They can decide to go to the SSA office to correct the issue. In that case, we have to print the E-Verify generated referral letter, which we have to review with each individually, and the employee will have to bring the corrected SSA name-number-birthday combination within eight workdays to the SSA office. If the employee decides to do this, he is allowed in the meantime to keep working, while we have to keep checking E-Verify to see if the SSA actually resolved the case record and what the outcome is. If the outcome becomes a “final non-confirmation” or if the case status stays for the eight days as “tentative non-confirmation,” then we have to terminate the new employee.

The other option is for the employee to sign a letter from E-Verify that he will accept the non-confirmation and, in fact, thereby terminates himself. Some of these individuals decide to “run” so we have to re-start the hiring process again. We still have to file all the documents because all these people have been hired and now legally dismissed all the while we have to go and process their paychecks for the next payroll.

The next group had to wait a little longer for the other part of E-Verify to wake up. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent another but similar “tentative non-confirmation” response. Some of these responses from DHS came a few hours later; others came spread out over the next 2 days. Now we have to get these other 7 employees who have been working, and go over the response from DHS with each individual, giving them the option to call, or to go to the closest DHS office, within the next 8 workdays to rectify the issue. Again, we have to give them this option first and based on the decision, we print and review with each employee the referral letter from DHS. Then we must daily check E-Verify to look for a change in the individual’s case status. The second choice here is for the employee to sign that he does accept the non-confirmation from DHS and self-terminates. All letters and other documentation from E-Verify are printed in English or Spanish, and contents of the letters that we have to explain to employees read like the details of an insurance policy, which only adds to the nightmare.

Another dimension of complication was added yesterday, another Friday, as suddenly E-Verify failed to communicate or respond. A call to the Government “help line” informed us there are computer problems, and we have to keep checking, as maybe Monday it will be up and running again.

Every step in E-Verify we have to document and file because we have to keep records of each individual’s response, while we are trying to find new people that are willing and able to do the seasonal jobs we have now.

All of the employees that we hired and then fired within the 8 days were eager to work at the starting pay of $9.00/ hour, able and willing to do work like planting and shipping. This is the labor force on which our industry depends and will need. The Government has again just sidestepped the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, instead diverting more work to the employer.”

Again, it seems clear to us the system is broken! So, the $64 million dollar question is: What, if anything can Florida do? If we only knew the answers to this question…… Some options, which we believe hold some merit, include codifying in state law the various social programs for which “undocumented” / “illegal” are ineligible. (I can provide a spreadsheet with such options).

We believe, through action, the Legislature could help local sheriffs get the incarcerated prisoners without authorization to be here in Florida “fast-tracked” back to their countries of origin.

Lastly, the Legislature should consider re-doubling the effort to push Florida’s Congressional delegation to take the lead on passing meaningful Federal immigration reform!

Thank you, Chairman, and members, for your attention. On behalf of FNGLA, I will be glad to answer questions. ### ]]>
http://www.fngla.org/newsmanager/templates/?z=2&a=156Thu, 17 Feb 2011 00:00:00 GMT
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