Tallahassee Reports may have finally found an answer to City Commissioner Scott Maddox’s question about the Mayor and the City Commissioner’s budget.
This part of the general government budget funds salaries and activities related to the Mayor and the four elected City Commissioners.
Commissioner Scott Maddox asked about an increase in the Mayor and City Commissioner’s budget at a budget workshop weeks ago.
But no one, including Mayor Gillum and City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson, had an answer they were willing to share in public about the $84,000 increase.
Previously, TR reported that part of the $84,000 Commissioner Maddox asked about was attributed to a $44,000 increase in salaries and health care expenses in the Mayor’s office.
But what about the other $40,000?
TR has learned that the proposed tax increase is budgeted to fund a $40,000 raise for city lobbyists.
The current contract, which pays city lobbyist $180,000 a year for state and federal level work, is up for renewal in November of this year. The latest budget increases the contract amount to $220,000, a 22% increase.
The state lobbying team includes Sean Pittman, who is a mentor and the former campaign manager for current Mayor Andrew Gillum.
Historically, the lobbying contracts are handled by the Mayor’s office. However, this year the contracts were moved out of the Mayor’s office to a line item labeled “City Administration.”
Why were the contracts moved the Mayor’s office?
A review of City Commission meeting minutes reveals no Commission discussion on the move of the contracts. Sources tell TR this was done without consulting City Commissioners.
Who proposed the increase?
Again, a review of City Commission meeting minutes reveals no Commission discussion or votes on the additional $40,000 allocated for city lobbyists.
Sources tell TR that the maneuver and the increase was orchestrated by City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson to “protect Andrew Gillum and his connection with Sean Pittman.”
This explanation is consistent with other sources that have told TR that the Mayor and the City Manager are making decisions on a number of issues without any input from other elected leaders.