Tallahassee Reports has learned that Chief Judge Charles Francis of the Second Circuit Court of Florida has declined to make his appointment to the newly created City of Tallahassee Ethics Board.
Last November the citizens voted overwhelmingly to create an independent ethics board for the City of Tallahassee. The ballot initiative created an ethics board staffed by appointments from different members of the community.
The referendum requires that the City Commission, the Chief Judge for the Second Judicial Circuit, the State Attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, the President of Florida State University and the President of Florida A&M University all make one appoint to the board.
Two additional board members shall be appointed by the Ethics Board.
Initial appointments shall be made within 90 days of the approval of the Charter provision and all subsequent appointments shall be made within 60 days of a vacancy occurring.
The appointment language passed in November is modeled after the language used to create the Jacksonville Ethics Commission in 2011.
Tallahassee Reports learned early yesterday that Judge Francis notified Mayor Gillum that he was declining to make an appointment to the ethics board.
Judge Francis ruled in August that a challenge by the City of Tallahassee to keep the referendum off of the ballot had no merit.
“This court finds that this proposed amendment to the charter of the city of Tallahassee is not confusing, deceptive, inflammatory or misleading…And therefore, neither the summary nor the title violate … Florida statutes” said Francis.
What happens next? TR is in the process of reaching out to the Citizens for Ethics Reform to determine how this will impact the creation of the ethics board.