At last weeks public hearing on the City’s proposed $750 million budget, Mayor Gillum aimed his most pointed comments at a group of citizens who proposed a $100,000 cut in the Mayors office budget.
Mayor Gillum called the proposal a lie and then minutes later asked upset citizens to treat him with respect.
This is how the events unfolded.
Barney Bishop, a local business owner and a leader of the Citizens for Responsble Spending (CRS) group, was one of 50 citizens to speak at the public hearing. He was speaking on behalf of CRS.
Members of CRS had spent the last 2-3 months meeting with city officials and requesting information in order to make thoughtful budget recommendations.
Mr. Bishop went over the list of recommendations that included new sources of revenue and spending cuts. During the presentation, he offered comments about each item.
When it came to the $100,000 cut the CRS group proposed for the Mayors office, Mr. Bishop said, “Mr. Mayor, you want some more interns?. No way.”
The reference to interns addressed the $40,000 Mayor Gillum has decided to spend on the program.
The Mayor’s office budget is approximately $470,000.
After the speakers segment was completed, Mayor Gillum addressed the citizen members of CRS by calling the proposal a lie and questioned their credibility.
See the video below:
After insulting the CRS group, Gillum asked upset citizens to treat him with respect. Take a look and listen.
Near the end of the video, you can hear citizens saying “you called us a liar.”
The reason for the exchange runs deeper than anything mentioned at the public hearing.
Members of the CRS told TR the group had become frustrated with the Mayor’s lack of information on spending in his office.
Commissioner Maddox had asked about the spending weeks ago and no answer was provided.
In addition to the spending on the intern program, this year’s budget included a proposed $40,000 increase in the City’s lobbyist contract – a contract currently involving the Mayor’s former campaign manager and self-described confident – has added to the frustration.
The lobbyist contract, which had been handled by the Mayor’s office for the last 10 years or so, was moved from the Mayor’s office budget without notification or approval from the City Commission.
Some feel it was an effort by the city manager to provide cover for Mayor Gillum.
The bottom line is the Mayor was a strong supporter of the original 27% tax increase and did not feel there was any need to cut the Mayor’s office budget.
The Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Dustin Daniels, told the Tallahassee Democrat that “[t]he issues that some individuals around the community have brought up about our budget are red herrings; tactics seeking to politically charge the debate on the budget overall.”
TR will soon publish a comparison of expenditures on aides and interns in Mayor’s offices around the state.
Not one of the current commissioners ran on the platform of “Vote for me and I’ll raise your taxes.” The whole system is ass-backwards. We, the people, should vote on how much taxes we want to pay, then they, our public servants, should live within their means. If someone thinks they need or deserve more money, convince the voters, like Blueprint 2000 did with the half cent sales tax. Like it or not, at least you know what you are paying for and that citizen voted it on ourselves.
It’s all well and good to rant at the liberal irresponsibility but the battle will be won at the polls.
Sound, fiscally responsible government will be achieved only by developing the ground game necessary to win on election day. That means, getting more votes from the N.E. precincts immediately and branching out from there.
Hmm, looking at the gerrymandered house district that pulls “the N.E” into rural Republican territory, maybe the legislature can help you on a more local level. Or you could bus ’em in after Sunday church. Seems to me that churches up there have plenty of money.
“…bus ’em in after Sunday church.”
Good idea. Seems to have worked for the other side.
Mr. Mayor, you seem to have forgotten:
It’s not your money, it’s ours,
It’s not your office, it’s ours.
You don’t have the right to demand anything, you only get to request.
If you want an increase in your office budget, submit the full justification, convince us you need it.It’s your job to convince us, not to attack the citizens who aren’t convinced.
The mayor is busy approving budgets everywhere with the tax payers money with no regard to citizens request.
This is just another example of the mismanagement, non-listening liberal administration. If it is not in line with their agenda then it must be wrong. Do I detect cover up?
Come on, Mr. Mayor, quit whining and act like a big boy.
Kwame Kilpatrick school of government located in beautiful Talla-cago, Florida where you can get lied to and robbed by the govt. and shot by thugs on the street daily.
Most all liberal American cities (New York, Chicago, Detroit, etc.) and liberal states (California, New York, Oregon, etc.) are deep in the financial red and/or losing jobs and businesses, as is our liberal-run (for the present) country. Tallahassee is a very liberal-run (and liberal-leaning) city. With our city government’s current government, can anyone have the slightest doubt about the direction Tallahassee is going?
If so, the next question is how badly do we want to turn Tallahassee around before it’s too late?
Tallahassee’s future reputation can become:
1: North Florida’s most thriving and attractive city, with a booming economy and great quality of life based on a wide variety of growing corporate offices as well as high tech startups and new business innovators, with low tax and crime rates and many high-paying white-collar jobs.
2: A small, remote FL city that has already been in the national spotlight for its #1 crime rate and various other humiliating reasons, with skyrocketing tax rates, high unemployment, businesses passing us by to build or relocate in better-run municipalities, and incompetently mismanaged into a steady rate of decline in economic and quality-of-life rankings statewide and nationally.
Sadly, this second future is the one unfolding before us.
Where is your evidence for the financial problems of these so called “liberal” cities versus [presumably] “conservative” cities? Sounds to me that you’re trying to pin a donkey on a tail you want to wag.
Mike we must act to take it back instead of letting a few get rich and run the place in the ground
While I didn’t ask for respect when trying to meet with commissioners last January to go over my red light camera analysis, I did ask for just a few minutes of time. Only commissioner Ziffer could be bothered. He was the only one to meet with me. Despite asking for time weeks ahead of the meeting to present the findings, I was relegated to the 3 minute public comment slot. Respect must be earned, and for the most part the Tallahassee City Commission has failed to earn mine. This story provides further evidence of this lack of respect towards citizens.
I thought I was the only one feeling the love by the city commissioners. We need to vote them up out of their seats.
Gillum just lied in this video…no surprise there but Mr. Bishop did not even begin to say that the $100,000 cut had to do with interns. The interns are a $40,000 part of the $100,000 cut equation
Or you can just buy them off with parks and development funds.
Jon you are correct they take money from the tax payers and swap hands. Why won’t he give the line item budget over.
The issue of Public Safety has gotten lost in the budget fiasco mess by Commissioners and the Mayor. I would rather have them pass a Stop and Frisk Law like the one they had in NYC that reduced crime in that City.
I think people in this community want positive steps to reduce crime. They do not want interns, and they do not want over paid friends as lobbyist. When will elected officials learn that “respect is something you must have, in order to get”.
If you respect the taxpayer, he or she will respect you.
If Mayor Gillum had any integrity and would start taking action that was good for our community, not to benefit his friends and family, perhaps he would get some respect from us, the lowly tax payers.
Wow it gets better than just the spending in his office we are fighting the spending of tax payers money by the CRA that is scheduled to be voted on this Thursday at 3:00 p.m.
I agree Diana. Seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same. I thought getting rid of John Marks would be a big boost for Tallahassee, but replacing one liberal/progressive/democrat with another will only continue the deterioration of our city. We can expect Tallahassee to follow in the footsteps of Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Ferguson if the people don’t wake up and start electing fiscal conservatives to run the city.
mr. osbourne, are you not aware that crime is down 30% in the last 20 years? none the less you propose procedures that are proven to be enforced with racial bias. i think its is very sad that our country has a higher per capita rate of law enforcers then either u.s.s.r. or nazi germany. where they to soft for you?