At the most recent City Commission meeting, Commissioner Nancy Miller discussed her concerns about the search process for a new city attorney.
Addressing the limited number of qualified applicants, Commissioner Miller said that if potential applicants understand that an internal candidate is favored, many people will not waste their time applying.
Then, looking at City Commissioner Curtis Richardson and Mayor Andrew Gillum, Commissioner Miller said, “It is disturbing to me that two you have already indicated to the public that you have made up you minds.”
The comment was in reference to the public support offered by Richardson and Gillum for current Deputy City Attorney Cassandra Jackson.
In addition, outgoing City Attorney Lew Shelley has publicly offered his support for Ms. Jackson.
“I do not believe the commission can find a more qualified candidate,” Shelley said in October.
Jackson has been Tallahassee’s deputy city attorney for years under Shelley.
City Commissioner Richardson remarked that institutional knowledge was as important characteristic trait for the city attorney position.
Commissioner Miller, continuing her criticism, provided an example of how a qualified individual was not allowed to apply for the position due to a problem with the online application process.
City staff was directed to gather more information about the incident.
The special meeting of the Commission, which was held on Wednesday January 3rd, was scheduled to discuss the next steps for appointing a city auditor and city attorney.
In addition to Jackson, the other applicants for city attorney include Steve Durden, who has over two decades of experience working for the city of Jacksonville General Counsel, and John Anastasio, who is a private attorney in Stuart who contracts as the attorney for smaller cities.
Interviews of the three city attorney candidates are scheduled to take place on January 17th, 2017.