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City Staff Asks Commissioners to Vote Against Ethics Panel Recommendation on Ethics Officer and Penalties

Posted on November 18, 2013

City Staff Asks Commissioners to Vote Against Ethics Panel Recommendation on Ethics Officer and Penalties

The City of Tallahassee staff will formally ask the City Commissioners to vote against some of the major recommendations made by the Ethics Advisory Panel (EAP) on Wednesday during a City Commission workshop.

The Ethics Advisory Panel, made up of nine citizens, including a retired Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and a former President of the American Bar Association, spent over nine months debating the need for more stringent ethics rules and policies.

The end result were ground breaking recommendations that included an appointed ethics officer, penalties for elected officials who violate the new rules, and the requirement for City hired lobbyists to disclose their clients.

Retired Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, Harry Anstead, said during one of the last meetings that  “Tallahassee is the capital of the fourth largest state. We are missing a golden opportunity to distinguish Tallahassee if we don’t do this. Ethics and professionalism is the heart of public service.”

Chair Martha Barnett, former President of the American Bar Association in the debate about an appointed ethics officer stated “we are here because there are problems and we have a once in a decade opportunity to make a difference.”

But City Staff was not persuaded. Instead they have crafted their own recommendations that go against the findings of the Panel.

Staff recommended against an appointed ethics officer because of cost and because it would have to be a ballot measure.

Staff recommended against City hired lobbyist being required to disclose clients, but gave no substantive reason for the recommendation.

And finally, the Staff recommended against penalties for elected officials violating the new ethics rule because “there is no history to indicate that elected officials would fail to comply.”

Check back to Tallahassee Reports for more updates on this story.

9 Responses to City Staff Asks Commissioners to Vote Against Ethics Panel Recommendation on Ethics Officer and Penalties

  1. Jack Chapman Reply

    November 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    what’s the use of having citizen recommend ethics rules when they could have saved all that time and just appoint the liberal staff in the first place. You really don’t want any outsiders offering something that puts teeth in the ethics committee. You would much rather judge your own selves, that way you want be guilty any wrong doings regardless of what you do.

  2. Frances Powell Reply

    November 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Wonder who the city staff are that oppose the ethics committee’s recommendations? This is so typical of what is wrong with our city government. Disgusted…

  3. Mark Daniel Reply

    November 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    This stinks of the City Attorney’s office. They are the real crooks steering the City Commissioners and Department heads, like a bunch of puppets. Their stamp is on every underhanded/dishonest act of the City.

    The State Attorney General needs to investigate the City Attorney’s office, especially the deputy city attorney and new City Attorney.

    Also, there is a very good reason why retired City Attorney Jim English was assigned to guide the Ethics Panel. Think of the skeletons he has in his closet after running that puppet show for 20 years.

    Pay close attention to which City Commissioners vote in favor of gutting the Ethics Panel’s recommendations–you will have clear evidence of who is crooked on that dais.

  4. Richard Davis Reply

    November 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    So they have nothing to compel them to practice ethically, and if they don’t, there is no recourse for stopping them.
    This is typical of how politicians have pulled the wool over the eyes of their constituents for the past hundred years, and probably more, in order to establish themselves as the royalty of America with much more power than any regals in any other country.
    We should be outraged. If they aren’t doing anything wrong, an ethics committee would not affect their activities as elected officials, and might just enhance their credibility (as if they have any left).

  5. Now that's good politics! Reply

    November 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    It sure is good to be a local god…sorry I mean politician these days. Setting rules and regulations that you don’t have to comply with….I mean recommending policy and enacting said recommendations upon the serfs…I mean lemmings…dadgummit…I mean little people that you feel like you rule over. Wake up or they will take everything because they think they can.

  6. Ben Poitevent Reply

    November 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    It is inconceivable to me that honorable elected officials would oppose a strong, independent city ethics officer. They should be finding a way to get it done, not finding reasons to oppose it. The commissioners should move forward aggressively to make sure citizens know they intend to do the honorable thing. This is a rare opportunity to show they care about ethics and honesty in elected and appointed city officials.

  7. Richard Stafford Reply

    November 20, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Steve,

    Is there anyway that we can stop the 5 cent per gallon additional Gas tax?
    With all the new costs of Obamacare and the paultry COL increase. Medicare will get. Some of us can’t afford to pay an additional tax. The commissioners don’t really have a need for the increase and they will waste it anyway?

  8. Joe West Reply

    November 21, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I would think that any elected or appointed position at any level of Government would be excited at the opportunity to be a model in the openness of our Public servants and ethics reform. To go against the recommendations of such a distinguished panel will give the impression of violations even if there are none.

  9. Ken Martin Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    So if they vote against it, everyone opining on this website should be out actively campaigning against them. How about a whole new slate of commissioners?

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