The Creation of the City’s Green Department Not Fully Disclosed to Taxpayers

Facts uncovered by Tallahassee Reports indicates that the information surrounding the creation of  the Environmental Policy and Energy Resources (EPER) Department, aka The Green Department, was not fully disclosed to taxpayers.

Fact 1: The newly created Director position, costing citizens approximately $120,000  was not advertised internally or to the public.

Fact 2: Budget documents indicate that the creation of the new Department cost the taxpayers little or no money. However,  Tallahassee Reports analysis indicates that vacant positions – that could have been cut- were pulled in from other areas of the City to help fund the new Department. In addition, a data request indicates that the Department is currently using temporary positions in addition to the 12 originaly budgeted positions. A conservative analysis indicates that the creation of the Green Department cost the taxpayers at least $200-$250,000 in new money.

Fact 3: There is some question about what the City Commissioners knew when they voted for the EPER, because the EPER was never voted on separately. After spending hours reviewing City Commission meeting minutes and agenda materials the vote that created the Green Department is documented  in the public record as follows:

Voted 5-0 to approve the City Manager’s reorganization, including the elimination of two director positions, i.e., Economic Development Director, and Gas Utility General Manager, for a FY08 savings of $76,905 in the General Fund. (Source: City Commission Meeting Summary, April 9th, 2008)

Fact 4: Commission meeting minutes and agenda materials failed to state that the newly created Green Department not only created a new Director position, but that this new position would report directly to the City Manager on par with the three assistant City Managers that are responsible for the electric utility, police & fire, and public works.

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