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Legal Writings Reveal Ethics Officer’s “Benign” Perspective of Tallahassee Ethics

Posted on July 21, 2017

Legal Writings Reveal Ethics Officer’s “Benign” Perspective of Tallahassee Ethics

Tallahassee Reports has obtained a copy of a legal journal article recently written by Julie Meadows-Keefe, the City of Tallahassee Ethics Officer, which reveals that she believed the ethics climate in Tallahassee before the creation of the independent ethics board was “benign.”

The article entitled, “From Rumblings to Reality: One City’s Story of Ethics Reform“, was published this year in the Stetson Law Review.

The article portrayed Tallahassee void of ethical challenges from 2002 through 2012. Ms. Meadows-Keefe wrote:

“From 2002–2012, eleven complaints against City officials had been filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics. In no case was it found that a violation was committed by an elected official. Additionally, no elected official in Tallahassee has ever been arrested for a criminal act.”

And then Ms. Meadow-Keefe asks, “Against this rather benign history, what tipped the balance?”

However, Ms. Meadows-Keefe failed to mention significant events that outraged a citizenry before 2012 and helped drive the support for an ethics board.

For example, Ms. Meadows-Keefe failed to mention the City Commission’s initial support of the FSU bio mass plant that was reversed when it was revealed the wife of FSU President, TK Wetherell, was a financial partner of the company selected to build the plant.

Ms. Meadows-Keefe failed to mention the finding by the the Florida Commission on Ethics that City Commissioner Allan Katz had a conflict on the biomass project. Not long after the finding, Katz resigned.

Ms. Meadows-Keefe failed to mention the deferred compensation scheme that resulted in $20,000 raises for city commissioners in 2007 and was never reported in the local media.

The City Commission voted to kill the benefit in 2010 after Dr. Erwin Jackson provided information that was published by Tallahassee Reports and citizens became aware of the arrangement.

Ms. Meadows-Keefe failed to mention the fact Mayor John Marks did not live within the city limits when he was elected Mayor in 2002. Instead, Marks listed his home address as a condo he owned in town. Days after his election, the City Commission voted to annex just his Bobbin Brook home – not the entire neighborhood – into the city limits.

Ms. Meadows-Keefe’s failure to recognize the role these events played in the creation of an environment conducive to a citizen led referendum in support of an independent ethics board, raise several questions.

Was Ms. Meadows-Keefe unaware of these events?

Was Ms. Meadows aware of the events and she simply chose to omit them from the historical context associated with the ethics board?

What does the answer to either of the above questions say about Ms. Meadows-Keefe ability to serve as an effective Ethics Officer?

20 Responses to Legal Writings Reveal Ethics Officer’s “Benign” Perspective of Tallahassee Ethics

  1. Joe Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 10:30 am

    If you need an “Ethics Officer” or an “Ethics Committee” be advised YOU DON’T HAVE ANY ETHICS!!!!!
    How sad for the citizens of Tallahassee and we’ve no one to blame but ourselves. We continue to elect CORRUPT public officials then act surprised about their corrupt behavior.

  2. Devil dog Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

    She is an insider

  3. Peggy Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Have we sent the fox to guard the hen house?

  4. Concerned citizen Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 10:59 am

    If anyone want to ask me questions related to my HOA candidacy. please PM me. And I am happy to send a link to the City meeting referenced and documents that reflect what happened at the meeting. This article isn’t accurate. Matter still open. Feel free to PM me for the link to the meeting and documents. You can also call my cell at 322-1655.

    • Erwin Jackson Reply

      July 21, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Julie why don’t you at least be honest enough to use your own name.

      • Steven Hougland Reply

        July 21, 2017 at 11:28 am

        She and the Ethics Commission are a toothless tiger.

    • daisyduck Reply

      July 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      This comment was a post on her neighborhood website. “Concerned Citizen” probably lives in the neighborhood and love smearing neighbors. He lifted it from another page and pasted it here. She would not want her phone number appearing on this page. She’ll now have to change it. Maybe Dr. Jax can write a scholarly article instead of stuff like this.

    • News_Maven Reply

      July 21, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Wow, if you were making $720,000/year a decade ago at DOH, I don’t think we can afford to call you:
      http://tallahasseereports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Julie_Meadows-Keefe.pdf

      • Thomas C. Hooker Reply

        July 24, 2017 at 7:50 am

        So the Ethics Officer lied on her resume given to the city? No one at DOH makes more that $200,000 per year.

        Either a terrible error or she is a documented liar.

  5. Steven Hougland Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 11:25 am

    “Additionally, no elected official in Tallahassee has ever been arrested for a criminal act.”

    Commissioner Richardson?

  6. daisyduck Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

  7. Toby Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    The city of Tallahassee should replace the Ethics Commission with an Irony Commission.

  8. Joe Shiver Reply

    July 21, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    This city is so Liberal, let’s hope we can change it

    • Dirk Dynamic Reply

      July 21, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      This will not happen in our lifetimes Joe. Between demographics and liberal universities…I moved out to the county and will never move back.

  9. Mike Reply

    July 22, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I imagine the indictments the FBI is about to announce this upcoming week may seriously call into question Ms. Meadows-keefe’s assertions.
    It would be interesting to see how many and how much some of our elected officials have lawyered-up in the past few weeks. It’s long past due, but at least some folks downtown may finally be in for their day of reckoning.

    I for one hope that this FBI investigation is just the start of more to follow.

    • News_Maven Reply

      July 22, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      Attending the CRA meeting, in the audience: Tim Jansen, Esq.

    • tallypally Reply

      July 22, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      @Mike, how do you know they’ll break within a week?

      • News_Maven Reply

        July 23, 2017 at 5:25 am

        Preston Scott made that pronouncement on his morning radio show on 100.7FM last week, based on his multiple sources. He basically said he’s heard “three to six indictments, most likely five, occurring maybe as soon as Monday.”

  10. bob fulford Reply

    July 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I stated early-on in a letter to the editor of the Democrat that the acceptance of the position by the current director is evidence that she is not an ethical person.

    Further, the referendum was challenged by the City in court. The City lost and the referendum was supported by the citizens with a margin of 67%; largest in our history.

    There was,and is, a need for an Independent Ethics Board.

  11. Mr. Curious Reply

    July 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Some applied for the ethics job with ethics and character to boot. Not sure, glad didn’t get it, or sad they didn’t have the stomach to pick someone with integrity for the job to start with?

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