Gillum’s Office Circumvents City Commission, Plans to Extend Contract for Donor, Confidante

Gillum’s Office Circumvents City Commission, Plans to Extend Contract for Donor, Confidante

On June 19th the City Manager released her FY2016 budget.  In that budget, the responsibility for hiring the federal, state, and electric utility lobbyists was transferred from the Mayor’s Office to the full City Commission.

The reason for the move was never explained. However, sources say the move was made to shield the Mayor from any decision on the contract because of his well documented relationship with Sean Pittman, one of the lobbyists.

The three-year lobbying contract is up for renewal in November 2015, and based on the move, the full City Commission would have a say in the details of the contract.

However, Tallahassee Reports has learned that despite the move of the responsibility for the contract to the City Commission, the Mayor’s Office has ensured that Sean Pittman will continue to benefit from the contract and there will be no competitive bid.

Here is what happened.

Mayor Gillum’s Chief of Staff, Dustin Daniels

After the City Manager released her budget on June 16th, with the change in responsibility for the lobbying contract, Dustin Daniels, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, began inquiring about the lobbying contract.

On June 29,2015, thirteen days after the transfer of responsibility of the lobbyist contracts to the full City Commission was made public, Daniels sent an email to the City’s procurement department:

I am just reaching out to ask and see if you knew when our legislative contracts would need to be approved for a one-year extension (both federal and state). I want to make sure that if the extension requires Commission action, that we plan for plenty of time to get it on the agenda.

Daniels’ email indicates the Mayor’s office had already decided to extend the lobbyists contracts, even though the responsibility had been transferred to the City Commission. This also indicates the contracts would not be put out for a competitive bid.

TR has recently reported that the last bid process for the lobbying contract went to the highest bidder. You can see that report here.

Sometime in June,  Daniels was told by procurement staff that if the contract was going to be put out for competitive bid, the procurement department would need to know in June to properly advertise to other vendors.

After relaying that information, it appears there was no further contact between Daniels and procurement officials about putting the lobbying contract out for bid.

On September 8th, Edwin Rodriguez in the city’s procurement department followed up with the following message to Daniels:

Also, if the decision is to not extend the Lobbying contracts and Procurement Services has to issue three new Request for Proposal solicitations, COT may be without contracts for these services until such time new contracts are executed.  That’s why we had to ask in June 2015 if you wanted to extend or new RFPs.  Let us know how we can assist.  Thanks.  –ED

Sources indicate the City Commission has not been asked to weigh in on any of the decisions relating to the lobbying contracts.

Daniels’, who called Sean Pittman a “friend & mentor” in August on social media, has also traveled with Pittman and Mayor Gillum on what Gillum labeled as non-city related trips.

Mayor Gillum’s relationship and his Chief of Staff’s (Dustin Daniels) obvious affinity for Pittman raises significant questions about the process?DDPITT

Is it legal and/or ethical for Mayor Gillum and/or his office to approve a no-bid contract extension that will benefit a known business associate and “confidante”?

Did Dustin Daniels inform the Mayor about his communications with the procurement department in June? And if so, did Mayor Gillum  sign off on not putting the contract out for bid?

Finally, why was the City Commission not involved with the final decision on the lobbying contracts given their new responsibilities?

TR will continue to investigate.

13 Responses to "Gillum’s Office Circumvents City Commission, Plans to Extend Contract for Donor, Confidante"

  1. At this extreme low point in the quality and ethics of Tallahassee’s government, one can only hope that my father’s old adage will prove true: “Give a fool enough rope, and sooner or later he’ll hang himself.” Perhaps one or more city officials will eventually become so greedy and brazen that legal actions, convictions, and prison time will result, as has happened to various Chicago mayors and Illinois governors. Perhaps after that, Tallahassee’s government can be reformed and improved.

  2. Bad news, fellow readers. This is just the way it is and will likely continue to be. The mayor cannot be defeated as any opposition will bring out the lock-step voters who are hard core minority, LBGT, Village Square liberals, city, county, state government employees, and the leadership of the Tallahassee Chamber who sup from the contracts given out by the city and see that what is going on to be good and “progresive”. As sad as it is what is needed is a local Donald Trump, hopefully with more polish but with plenty of money to self fund a campaign and the same ability to show political correctness for what it is.

  3. It is amazing how Sean Pittman and Gary Yordon contribute so little yet are paid so much of our hard earned tax dollars. The self promotion, sweetheart deals, and junkets continues on and on. Not only do they – contribute so little – they draw energy in a negative direction that sets us back. Hence, the high crime rate, mismanagement of the CDA, and poor planning of Cascades Park, but to give a few examples of the chaos in local government. The Tallahassee Democrat published a recent article where Gary Yordon was praising the county commissioner Kristin Dozier. The article neglected to give the disclaimer that Yordon is strongly associated with Dozier’s campaign. Perhaps, if the Democrat banned the name Yordon for one year and refusing Yordon’s free publicity stunts, this town could make dramatic strides in cleaning up the destruction left in the wake by the Usual Suspects, Inc.

  4. Just another in a growing list of unethical and questionable decision making. Call it what it is:
    “You scratch my back (political supporter) and I’ll take good care of you down the road.
    * “Pay to Play”.
    “Crony Capitalism” where only the insiders and well connected (donors) get the inside track to lucrative government contracts.
    Who loses— the “taypayers” and other business owners that are not “insiders” or choose not to “play the game”.
    It seems that Party ID, really doesn’t matter. Those that are in power either at the local, state or Federal level are in a position to “help out” their friends, family and largest donors.

  5. Heck, if this contract goes to the “Highest” bidder, I want in on this action.

    If the Commissioners go along with this then we need to recall all of them.

    Where is the Ethics Officer? Oh, I forgot.

  6. I don’t understand a no bid contract at this level of funds. One can only see there is definitely some shenanigans going on. Wonder what the mayors office is getting in return?

  7. Who is Dustin Daniels? What is his T&E?

    Also. Who is Jamerson G Van Pelt, the Mayor’s Community Relations Coordinator?

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