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Commissioner Miller Family Contracts Results in Change to City Policy

Posted on November 14, 2017

Commissioner Miller Family Contracts Results in Change to City Policy

The City of Tallahassee Auditor’s investigation into contracts awarded to family members of City Commissioner Nancy Miller did not identify any evidence that John Buss, Miller’s husband, inappropriately used his position to secure a personal benefit for his brother through the award of work to DPB &Associates.

However, the audit found the approval of those awards to DPB &Associates did represent the appearance of a conflict of interest.

In addition, the audit found one of the 12 employees interviewed indicated the relationship between the AGM and DPB & Associates did impact his thoughts when evaluating proposals from DPB & Associates. The audit stated that this finding “is demonstrative that the relationship can result in an unintentional bias in the selection process.”

Tallahassee Reports first broke the story about the contracts and possible conflicts in July.

The audit stated that “when these matters were brought to their attention, City management responded by immediately revising the City’s Purchasing Procedures to preclude any City employee from developing, recommending, or approving a procurement requisition, contract, purchase order, or pay request for any good or service from a business entity for which the employee may have a conflict of interest.”

“Those revised procedures provide that a conflict of interest exists when an employee has, or appears to have, a financial or personal relationship with a vendor. A personal relationship includes, but is not limited to, marriage, family, or other close relationship that could reasonably be perceived as a conflict or create an actual conflict of interest.”

The audit also highlighted how perceived conflicts of interest can impact government actions.

“Similar to actual conflicts of interest, perceived conflicts of interest can erode the public’s trust in a government’s procurement practices and activities. For that reason, in those future instances where a potential conflict of interest exists in regard to an acquisition of goods or services, the evaluation, selection, negotiation, and authorization and approvals processes should be conducted by appropriate employees other than the employee that has the potential conflict of interest.”

The audit did not identify or become aware of any issues or matters during our review to indicate (a) DPB & Associates was not qualified for the work awarded; (b) the amounts awarded to the firm for the work were not fair or reasonable; (c) the infrastructure built based on the firm’s engineering work was not adequate; or (d) the engineering services provided by the firm were not adequate or sufficient.

22 Responses to Commissioner Miller Family Contracts Results in Change to City Policy

  1. Thomas C. Hooker Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Just Scummy.

  2. alex Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Nancy Miller is running the same.plays that were run by Marks, Maddox, Favors and City officials for the past 20 years. Time for all to go.

  3. Major Villum Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    So why hasn’t there been any review/investigation of John Buss and his Department overseeing the payments to Nancy Miller’s contracting with the City with the TAPP program? And who landed the TAPP contract for the web design through Nancy Miller?

    • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Reply

      November 20, 2017 at 2:27 am

      Who do you propose to conduct such an investigation?

  4. MT Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Good question.

  5. Gabriel Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    DUMP Miller for 2018! Miller your TIME is UP! Citizens, Incumbents have taken YOU ALL for a ‘JOKE’ at the Taxpayers’ EXPENSE! Show MILLER at the POLLS! She clearly does not deserve a THIRD term! Send her A$$, and other incumbents back to the private sector!

  6. Bill Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    IT’S TIME for a new choice for Seat 3 on the City Commission. Join the movement today at
    Billschack.com

  7. Philip Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I want change too but not a return to the previous cronyism of Boss Hawg and the Dixiecrats. They were even worse.

    • Preston Scott Reply

      November 15, 2017 at 5:30 am

      No they weren’t and that is exactly what this is…on steroids. The unethical conduct, and likely corruption, is so bad here I think when the FBI is finished (and if we have a U.S. Attorney who will prosecute and not provide cover) Tallahassee will be as bad or worse than Detroit. Detroit’s corruption was somewhat limited in terms of scope. Tallahassee’s appears to be deep and wide. Anyone who wants a vote in upcoming elections needs to promise to let go anyone in senior City management.

  8. Bill Carlton Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Miller should have never run for city commissioner when her husband was an employee of the city. There is a blatant conflict that shows a great lack of integrity on her part, even if there was no ethical conflict at the time.

  9. Ethics Hound Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Steve, this policy change and these findings are the result of your great reporting. Well done. Keep up the good work!

  10. Sam Simmons Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    She plays a great outside “dumb” sweet role, but is sharp and cunning inside.

  11. Major Villum Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 5:27 am

    The way this specific issue is being addressed is symptomatic of a lot of separate City of Tallahassee issues:

    First – why is the INTERNAL audit via Bert Fletcher – the final say on this debacle? It’s time to investigate Fletcher and his Department too.

    Second: Where’s the Ethics Department and what have they (Julie Meadow’s Keefe) done to address this issue? Nothing. It’s time to Investigate their directed non-role also.

    Third: Where is the Public Record request Office in this public transparently presenting this info – as the release of all FBI documents was done via the Democrat? Time to investigate Jim Cooke of the treasurer Office with Mr. Lutz of Public Records.

    Fourth; This brings us to Raoul Levin over Finance and procurement, the gate keeper on allowing the unabashed funding of this – and others – apparently inappropriately funded projects. Simply follow the money.

    Fifth: The role of the Communication Department via Alison Faris helps direct the public messages and their role in coordinating should not be overlooked. This is a well-oiled – and out of control machine – that is running amok with tax payer money. I’ll stop there – but there are PLENTY more employees and issues; and this is being orchestrated by the Legal Department.

    If any ONE of these people or Departments simply did their job before it snowballed out of control – this would be a non-issue.

    These are just some of the layers of ‘compromised integrity’ that support and promote these type of activities with the City of Tallahassee; it’s the same issues; just different players.

    Address these layers of issues, please; FBI, State Attorney, Governor Scott, Rico? Tallahassee deserves better than this – in my opinion.

    • Snidely Whiplash Reply

      November 15, 2017 at 6:05 am

      Dang Major great info there!
      If the FBI would just read and understand what you wrote here then every FBI agent could live their dream and just chill out and get paid for doing nothing for the duration of this Federal investigation.
      Sometimes – due to what seems to be such a slow motion race to indictments – I feel the FBI may be “chilling out” way too much here.
      Chop Chop FBI – wake up – drink your coffee – get to work!!!

      • Mike Reply

        November 15, 2017 at 8:24 am

        Snidely, I feel much the same as you do about the FBI investigation – going way too slow! I realize that may be due to careful documentation and the process of building a solid case, but it does cause impatience. This COT situation has mushroomed to an extent and frequency that we desperately need an outside agency to hand down some truly hard justice. The more profound the legal punishment is, the more it will dissuade similar corruption by future COT officials.

        Then again, having a decent COT government (and Leon County) means Tallahassee voters will have to acquire the necessary sense to vote for honest, ethical officials who truly care about this city, rather than rely on political party or ethnicity.

  12. Snidely Whiplash Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I feel that very few citizens actually need such “audits” to help them make up their minds that our elected officials are very dirty. Everyone already knows that; although a few contrarians will always try to make it appear that many thinking people are not already convinced.
    Often these “audits” are initiated in a desperate attempt to cloud the facts thus providing “cover in the clouds” for our dirty elected officials and all those go-along-to-get-along government workers who enabled the culture of our dirty elected officials corruption.
    The FBI investigation has got the Capital City of Corruption stirred up like a … well like a stirred up ant hill.

  13. Steven Hougland Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Miller: Everyone is satisfied…that there was no unethical conduct.

    Therein lies the problem.

    • Wendy Reply

      November 16, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Millard comment is just like that of Rocky Hanna “I am done talking about the notebook” the local press let Mr. Hannah off the hook and it continues to do so,never pressed him on the batch of misleading information that he put together to ruin a man. Let’s hope that the community doesn’t do the same with Ms. Miller.

      • G-Man Reply

        November 29, 2017 at 8:01 pm

        The fast-moving national reckoning over sexual harassment in the workplace has me worried for and about Rocky Hanna

  14. JJ Reply

    November 16, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Good for the auditor for calling out Buss for the conflict of interest (appearance of). That had to take guts knowing he is married to Miller. Guess the auditor might have signed his death warrant with this report calling Buss out like that.

  15. Sammantha Reply

    November 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Where is Julie Meadows Keefe? What does she do?. Hire Chuck Hobbs, the esteemed trial lawyer with 3 bar suspensions, he knows corrupt when he sees it. His last deal sounds like a COT special. He plead a client guilty, then took another retainer from them to do an appeal!!Uh Chuck, you plead them already and it’s on the record.

  16. Curtis Baynes

    Curtis Baynes Reply

    December 1, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    I am disappointed to see this, but I wish Commissioner Miller the best of luck in whatever she chooses to do next and good health to her husband. For me, I always found her willing to listen to anything I said, even if she did not always do everything I wanted. IMHO she has always had Tallahassee’s best interests in her heart and one cannot ask for more from a commissioner.

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