TR has learned that the City of Tallahassee’s Independent Ethics Board has begun an investigation into the pension payments being made to former City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey.
The Executive Director of the Ethics Board, Julie Meadows-Keefe, provides a status of complaints and investigations each month. This months report, which is part of the agenda to be discussed during the May 17th Ethics Board meeting, includes a reference to an investigation into a complaint “regarding pension payments.”
Under the “Action Taken” category of the report, Ms. Meadows-Keefe wrote: “Met with citizen, accepted documents, review documents, contacted Board Chair, commenced preliminary investigation, consulted with legal counsel.”
TR has confirmed through sources that the complaint is about the monthly pension payments currently being made to former City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey.
At the heart of the complaint is the fact that former City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey is receiving a monthly pension based on an inflated salary. The annual salary of a Tallahassee City Commissioner is approximately $36,000 and is set by the City Charter. Documents show Ms. Lightsey’s pension was calculated using the annual salary of approximately $57,000.
You can read TR’s investigative report about the issue and see documents here.
The pension payments originated from the deferred compensation benefit that had been in place for City Commissioners. After citizens raised questions about the practice, the Commission voted to terminate the benefit.
You can read several reports about the deferred compensation controversy here.
Ms. Meadows-Keefe, in documents provided to the Board, anticipates making a recommendation to the Board in June or July.