It appears Mayor Andrew Gillum is uncomfortable supporting recommendations from independent voices when it comes to more stringent ethics rules for elected officials.
At the last City Commission meeting, Commissioner Scott Maddox asked the City Commissioners to vote for a resolution that supported Florida Senate Bill 582, entitled Misuse of Public Office Act which has been proposed for the 2016 session of the Florida Legislature.
The stated purpose of the proposed legislation is to address certain provisions in State law that have prevented law enforcement and State Attorneys from pursuing certain persons suspected of conduct that would constitute unethical or corrupt behavior.
Other cities around the state of Florida have adopted similar resolutions.
The vote by the City Commission was 3-2, with Mayor Gillum and Commissioner Richardson voting against the resolution.
Mayor Gillum also failed to support an independent ethics officer as recommended by the Ethics Advisory Panel and the citizen driven referendum that called for an independent ethics board in 2014.
Approximately 70% of the electorate voted in the last election cycle to change the City Charter and adopt the referendum.
City Commissioner Richardson said he could not support the resolution because he was not familiar with the specific impact of the proposed state legislation. He did point out that he supported the establishment of the independent ethics board for the City of Tallahassee.
Even more curious was Gillum’s reason for opposing the resolution.
Gillum said he agreed with the intent of the resolution but was troubled by the references that Commissioner Maddox made about a local elected official when asking for support of the resolution.
While Maddox never mentioned a local official by name, Maddox referenced news articles that addressed Leon County Superintendent Jackie Pons and the year long controversey over school construction contracts.
Maddox is running for Leon County Superintendent of schools.
But why is this relevant to Mayor Andrew Gillum? Why would a reference to another elected official effect the vote for a resolution that would be good not only for the state of Florida but for the City of Tallahassee?
Gillum would not answer any of our questions.