After Four Months, City’s Director of Human Resources Avoids Questions About Football Tickets


Imagine you are an employee in a large organization and you have a workplace complaint against the CEO. You follow procedures and take your complaint to the head of Human Resources.

Your concerns are ignored.

Later you find out that the CEO has arranged for the head of Human Resources to receive expensive gifts – $500 football tickets – on multiple occasions.

This is what former city employees are saying happened at the City of Tallahassee. The former employees say that the Director of Human Resources, Ellen Blair, knew about employee complaints against City Manager Rick Fernandez but did nothing.

Given the recent revelations about football tickets, the former employees believe Blair did nothing because of her relationship with Fernandez.

In August 2017, TR was the first to report about Fernandez getting football tickets from city lobbyist Adam Corey. The report has since been substantiated.

In the same report, TR reported that Ellen Blair was also the recipient of a number of expensive football tickets from City Manager Rick Fernandez.

Since then, no one with the Ethics Office or the City of Tallahassee has publicly reported asking Ms. Blair about the tickets.

However, now an ethics complaint has been recorded with the City’s Independent Ethics Board.

The complaint was logged in on November 21, 2017 and stated, “Citizen alleges three city staff accepted gifts exceeding $100.00. 2 of 3 were reporting individuals and did not report the gift.”

Public comments indicate that Ellen Blair is one of the three individuals.

The action taken by the Ethics Office is listed as, “As per Board Bylaws, reported to Acting City Manager for determination of action to be taken, if any.”

The problem is that the Acting City Manager, Reese Goad, has been under the direction of suspended City Manager Fernandez for a number of years. In addition, sources tell TR that Goad may not be in the best position to investigate the claims given the relationship between Goad, Fernandez, and Blair.

On December 19th TR asked the Ethics Officer, Julie Meadows-Keefe, if there was any information to report on the complaint that was filed on November 21st, 2017.

Ms. O’Keefe responded by saying that she had checked with Mr. Goad last week and he had nothing to report.

The bottom line is that almost four months after the first reports surfaced about Ellen Blair taking gifts from her supervisor, it appears no one with the authority to compel an answer has ventured to simply ask Ms. Blair if she received football tickets from Mr. Fernandez.

12 Responses to "After Four Months, City’s Director of Human Resources Avoids Questions About Football Tickets"

  1. Snidely whiplash   December 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Jeeze it’s like these dirty little Hillary over at the City did not yet get the memo their dirty thieving corrupt old girl Hillary lost. Wake up city elite your dirty grandma lost. You should have started following the rules around 12 months ago.

    Reply
  2. J Danger   December 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    This is not a surprise at all. Kind of like the current situation with the FBI at the national level, I am sure many of the folks working for the COT are just working to make a living. It’s those at the level of supervisor or manager and up, those making the big $$ are dishonest. Wonder if she will plead it was the only way to keep her job…give me a break! She broke the law as did Fernandez and his bosses. And there are those who looked the other way. Hope all of you are sleeping well at night!

    Reply
  3. Major Villum   December 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Please check to see if there is a formal Public Record Request documented to have been accepted by the City dated about October 10th 2017 that specifically states to produce:

    “8) A complete listing of all City of Tallahassee employees who were offered and/or accepted exclusive football tickets in the sky box through or associated with Mr. Rick Fernandez. Supply date of games and all associated emails and information per acceptance, refusal and additional offers. Please include this for the last 6 years (2011 to present).”

    So what was the City’s Formal Response?

    The City of Tallahassee’s entitled elite are simply running out of rocks to hide under.

    I wonder if the $300 per hour Panama City Attorney who is hired BY the City to ‘investigate’ this issue will accurately report these aspects.

    Corey to Fernandez to whom else? FBI can you assist a bit on these important questions, please?

    Reply
  4. Ed Smith   December 19, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I know it’s pessimistic of me but I bet dimes to doughnuts there is a connection between the investigating law firm and COT council. It’s just too convenient.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth   December 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm

      And we are paying the legal bills. Good grief.

      Reply
  5. Alan Stanwyck   December 19, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Next scandal we will hear about is Shelley’s cozy relationship with the PC attorneys he hired. Can someone please interview these attorneys and get them on the record as to why they were chosen to investigate Ricky.

    Summary: We have elected people who don’t understand or care that the desk that they sit at does not belong to them and never will.

    30 years ago Ricky would have been run out of town. Sir, you need to pay for your own football tickets like the rest of us do. Please leave Tallahassee asap. You are a disgrace to our city.

    #backscratchers

    Reply
    • Callie   December 22, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Pay for football tickets? They were selling for $6 for some games over the last years..did you notice ALL the empty seats..not sure who estimated the value at $500 per ticket ..yes..a box seat? I knew people giving them away…

      Reply
  6. Sammantha   December 20, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Blair is another complicit skank who does the bidding of those in power. Julie Meadows is a joke hire and always has been. She is a rubber stamp for the deeds of these corrupt people. Come on city employees, keep leaking and claim whistle blower status. This city needs a cleansing.

    Reply
    • Allie Sharpton   December 23, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      Could not help but notice that Ms. O’keefe is friends with Ms. Blair and has commented on her facebook page. Seems to me that Ms. O’Keefe might be overstepping the bounds of “ethics” in being friends with those she should be investigating. Just a thought…………..of course, I guess it really doesn’t matter since “ethics” don’t seem to be a big concern for the city/mayor/crooks.

      Reply
  7. Stanley   December 22, 2017 at 9:38 am

    All of you are wrong….. This Acting City Manager will throw anyone under the bus he has no further use for… Ask Rick? Believe me the clock is ticking on Mr. Goad… His treatment of current and past employees are coming back to haunt him!

    Reply
  8. Mike   December 26, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Hopefully the FBI is applying enough pressure to one of those involved in all this COT corruption – and hopefully that pressure at some point will cause that individual to produce volumes of information and evidence about all the other corrupt COT officials.

    We sadly have only the FBI to rely on, to uncover all of this and bring it to trial(s). ANY law firm (from PC or wherever) or Ethics Board/officer that has a connection to any COT official is automatically suspect, and can’t be trusted to actually do any valid or true investigation.

    Reply
  9. Jonathan Anderson   January 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Only in this town does a low level bureaucrat get to not answer a question of this type. The city employees who are beholden to the corrupt administration know there will be no consequences. The Tallahassee Democrat has to have a story rubbed in their noses to even waste ink. Portman, Burlew and the other alleged “investigative reporters” do nothing.

    Reply

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