City of Tallahassee Pays Over 100% More than Gainesville, Lakeland and Leon County for State Lobbying

City of Tallahassee Pays Over 100% More than Gainesville, Lakeland and Leon County  for State Lobbying

Being a stones throw away from the state capital does not seem to have an impact on state lobbying expenses for the City of Tallahassee.

Tallahassee Reports, prompted by the revelation that the City of Tallahassee is seeking an additional $40,000 for lobbying contracts in this years budget, gathered information from other local governments about their state lobbying expenditures.

Currently, Tallahassee spends $90,000 on federal level lobbying and $130,000 on state level lobbying, for a total of $220,000 on lobbying.

This report addresses state lobbying expenditures.

The numbers, listed in the table below, shows the City of Tallahassee currently pays over twice as much for state lobbying services than comparable governments which include the City of Lakeland, the City of Gainesville, and Leon County.

This table does not take into account the proposed $40,000 increase in lobbying expenses for next year.


Current State Lobbying Expense

Number of State Lobbyists

City of Tallahassee



City of Lakeland



City of Gainesville



Leon County



The City of Tallahassee pays $130,000 per year while Lakeland spends $56,580, Gainesville spends $60,000 and the City of Tallahassee’s sister government, Leon County, spends $50,000.

A representative of the City of Lakeland told TR that a number of officials, including the City Manager and the General Manager of the electric utility, were all involved with lobbying issues in the Florida Legislature.

The information also reveals that the City of Tallahassee, with 6 registered legislative lobbyists, has 4 more lobbyists than the City of  Lakeland and the City of Gainesville, and 2 more than Leon County.

The registered lobbyists for the City of Tallahassee are Ronald Book, Rana Brown, Kelly Mallette, William Peebles, Sean Pittman, and John Smith.

Another interesting finding is the City of Tallahassee spends $40,000 with William Peebles and John Smith on lobbying services for the electric utility, while the City of Gainesville spends a total of $60,000 with William Peebles and John Smith for both electric utility and general government issues.

The City of Tallahassee would save $70,000 under the City of Gainesville’s arrangement.

12 Responses to "City of Tallahassee Pays Over 100% More than Gainesville, Lakeland and Leon County for State Lobbying"

  1. why are you comparing Tallahassee to cities that have much smaller populations? seems to me that the capital city would need more of a presence than lakeland or gainesville. maybe im wrong (no im not) but these articles are getting more and more anti-gov and less factual. i have resorted to just reading your take on the local golfer.

    1. Jack J., We used these cities because the City of Tallahassee uses these cities in their own documents as comparable. Also, what cities would you recommend?

  2. Why do we pay ANY lobbyists. Who better than the commissioners to step up to the plate and voice Tallahassee’s concerns? Really? Elect some folks who care about our community and put service above self.

  3. Good job reporting this Steve. Now get the contract the city has with Mr. Pittman, the mayor’s campaign chair, and see what the city asked him to do. Then compare what was asked and what was done. Compare what the City asked him to do with the legislative objectives of the League of Cities. Those things sought and accomplished by the League should not be credited to Mr Pittman. If the city had an ambitious legislative agenda not included in the League of Cities program and Mr Pittman accomplished that agenda he may be worth what he is being paid. Otherwise the contract is nothing more than payola for Pittman’s work as on the mayor campaign.

    1. Sean Pittman has probably made enough money lobbying for big tobacco to last him the rest of his life.

      I wonder if he hands out free cigarettes and cigars to his friends. If so, these friends should be reminded that tobacco kills 480,000 people each year in the U.S., and 1 million people each year world wide.

  4. How do you know you are comparing apples to apples? Maybe we get more. Easy to report numbers. Not easy to analyze what they mean.

  5. Okay…. I have just one question…. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE TRUTH IS…. compared to other Cities, is Tallahassee receiving any greater benefit from the added lobbying? Is the money spent proportionate to benefits received? And a related question, can any intangibles be quantified?

    1. I believe that you will have to break those questions down even further…..Do the lobbying efforts benefit the citizens of Tallahassee OR the elected officials/administration of the City of Tallahassee? If the City has to hire lobbyists, it means that the elected officials/ administration have not tried or cannot rally the support of their constituents. I am a firm believe that if it is a worthy cause, the citizens will step up, get behind the initiative, and do the hard work. The problem is that the goals of the citizens and the goals of the government inherently conflict. The government extorts money from the citizens through taxes, fees and fines; and uses that money to accomplish goals which would otherwise not be supported by the populace.

  6. I think we need to lower our expectations for our mayor and commissioners. Obviously, our expectations that they do things honest and ethical are just too hard for them to achieve. Perhaps they really do need the extra money so they can “pay their own way” when the accompany the mayor on his “trips for City business”.

    Steve,great work as always. Will they give you records showing how much has been paid in lobbying fees over the last 5-10 years so we can see how much this has grown over time. I’m also wondering if the $40K extra is allowed for in the contract, or are we just paying whatever they ask. Do they have to bid these types of contracts out, or can those hoodlums sitting behind the dais give it to whomever they want?

    1. You actually have expectations of the Mayor and City Commissioners? I’ve given up. Chicago style politics for Tallahassee it is, and people in the City are too stupid to do anything about it.

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