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Response from Mayor’s Office on Software Purchase Raises More Questions

Posted on February 26, 2017

Response from Mayor’s Office on Software Purchase Raises More Questions

In response to a TR investigation, Dustin Daniels, Mayor Gillum’s Chief of Staff, told Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat that the software purchased from a self described progressive/liberal vendor was needed by the Mayor’s Office to communicate with constituents.

“We use it for our communications with constituents for large events like the Longest Table or our community summit on children, which requires thousands of messages and interactions with specific lists of community members,” he said.

However, the City of Tallahassee and taxpayers invest approximately $1.5 million each year to employ approximately 14 people in the City’s Communications Department.

The listed goals of the Communications Department are:

  • to inform citizens about city government and foster a desire for citizens to be involved with their city government,
  • serve as the primary conduit of important information for citizens regarding city projects, and
  • increase the departmental use of television to create citizen awareness, and utilizing highly creative communication techniques to attract attention to city projects among the vast array of issues competing for citizens’ attention.

Also, the City’s Communications Department has the following resources:

  • an e-mail subscription service which has 19,199 subscribers with over 1.34 million emails sent via the subscription system from January to December 2014,
  • 21 Facebook accounts with over 33,092 “fans” and
  • 12 twitter accounts with 25,351 followers.

So with all of this communication infrastructure, why does the Mayor’s Office spend money on their own software?

With the Mayor’s Office refusing to answer probing questions, TR is left to investigate through public records requests and by interviewing campaign experts.

Sources told TR that Gillum could be using the NGP VAN software to build a database so that when the time is right, a simple push of a button would allow for campaign fundraising and volunteer activities to begin.

The founder of NGP VAN, Nathaniel Pearlman, explained the uses of the software this way:

Well, there’s a lot of very specialized things that campaigns do that aren’t part of a standard CRM package that you might use or blast email tool or something. Those include you have to file, if you run for a federal office, you have to file a Federal Election Commission report.That’s all the spending that you make in a campaign and all the money in a particular format. Like a tax return.

If you run in a state-level contest, you have to do that with state reports and city reports. They all have different formats. That’s quite different. There are also things like canvassing, going door-to-door, managing your relationship with people out in the field. It’s a broad range of very specialized tasks that all have to be centered together in one piece of technology.

TR will continue to investigate and will report when new information becomes available.

13 Responses to Response from Mayor’s Office on Software Purchase Raises More Questions

  1. Frances Powell Reply

    February 26, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    This sounds like software for personal use, not the city’s business. He should foot the bill for it.

    • Franklin Thompson Reply

      February 27, 2017 at 8:47 am

      It’s too late for that. I had a good friend dismissed after 19 years with the city for doing the same thing…just different type of purchases.

  2. Terry Ryan Reply

    February 26, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    How much did the software cost ?

  3. Terry Ryan Reply

    February 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    See the cost in another article – agree with another poster: mis-appropriation of funds by a public official?c

  4. BEC Reply

    February 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Andy’s Chief of Staff is a HACK just like him!

  5. Bill Carlton Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Thanks for keep us informed!

  6. Hope Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 10:18 am

    CLEARLY the mayor misused his position and tax dollars for his own personal political agenda. CLEARLY THE MAYOR SHOULD RESIGN IMMEDIATELY!

    The mayor should reimburse the taxpayers and CLEARLY Dustin Daniels should resign, also. Who else participated in this misuse (criminal act?)?

    There needs to be an investigation as to the degree of this incident. Does it rise to the level of felonious criminal activity, RICO, etc?

  7. Mr. Curious Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Clearly this is not something the city should be condoning. I find it questionable at best to say the city commission itself should be holding the Mayor accountable for this expenditure. I’m not the smartest person in the world, but when something doesn’t look or smell right, it probably isn’t.
    I still hold the question, how does one go about dethroning the king, excuse me, a Mayor? Time for him and other city cronies to go. Can’t wait for elections any more.

  8. Old Cop Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    The use of public funds for personal benefit is a violation of the city charter and state law. This is what we created the city board of ethics for, to investigate and prosecute ethics violations.
    If the board is worth anything, they need to initiate an investigation on the mayor.and show the citizens their worth.
    They are supposed to be independent from city control, we are about to see.

  9. Mike Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I have an unoriginal but entirely appropriate slogan for Mr. Gillum’s future campaign: “Gillum For Prison 2017”.
    As I recall, the same slogan worked like a charm on Hillary’s campaign.

    • News_Maven Reply

      February 27, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      And I have a slogan for Adam Putnam’s gubernatorial campaign:
      “If you liked Barack Obama, you’ll LOVE Andrew Gillum!”

      By the way, let me throw out an somewhat unrelated issue:
      WHY are there little piles of tree debris from last fall’s Hurricane Hermine STILL waiting to be picked up along our roads?

      Sounds like a better use of taxpayer money than some redundant software.

      • Mike Reply

        February 28, 2017 at 8:55 am

        As both a Conservative (I have zero respect for RINOs and the Establishment Republicans) and someone who worked for years at the FL Dept. of Agriculture, I would have a hard time voting for Mr. Putnam.
        I always got the impression (as did many of us) that the Agriculture Department was only a stepping stone in his political career. However, if it comes down to voting for Gillum or Adam Putnam for governor, I regard keeping Gillum out of any political office at all my highest priority, just as I regarded keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House as the highest priority. Essentially, Gillum, Clinton, and obama are all cut from the same hard-left cloth.

  10. MT Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Hard to understand how this could be considered acceptable.

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