Judge Charles Dodson Allows City in Jackson-Maddox Residency Case

Judge Charles Dodson Allows City in Jackson-Maddox Residency Case

The City of Tallahassee has officially entered the controversy over the residency of City Commissioner-elect Scott Maddox, which was initiated in a court filing by local businessman and government activist Dr. Erwin Jackson.

The decision by Judge Dodson, which has no impact on the merits of any arguments in the case, will allow the City of Tallahassee to argue their position. The City’s position is the controversy should be decided by the City of Tallahassee.

In the motion to intervene, the City’s attorney wrote “the City Commission is the exclusive forum for the initial determination as to the qualification of Mr. Maddox to sit as a commissioner.”

Sources told TR that a decision by Judge Dodson to give the City of Tallahassee the ability to address the issue could result in an awkward process where City Commissioners would become hearing officers.

Any decision by the City Commission could be appealed.

Based on public records request and other research, TR has determined that the City’s interpretation of the Charter is that the question of residency is only relevant when the winning candidate takes office. This means that as long as Mr. Maddox takes residency in the City before being sworn in, which will take place in November, there is no residency issue.

However, this position appears to be inconsistent with the oath taken by City Commission candidates which requires a sworn statement indicating the candidate is an elector of the City.

It also appears the City of Tallahassee, through the City Attorney’s office, is sharing information about the case with Mr. Maddox. TR recovered an email that showed the City Attorney’s office kept Mr. Maddox’s aide abreast of communications between the City Attorney’s office and the Tallahassee Democrat.

Both Jackson and Maddox have issued public comments since Judge Dodson’s decision.

Maddox, who filed a motion to have the case dismissed, told the Tallahassee Democrat:

“This is a frivolous lawsuit brought by Erwin Jackson on his third attempt to discredit me. This one will be thrown out like all the others have been. It’s unfortunate that the price of public service is constant harassment of your family by a government critic.”

Jackson told TR:

“Four years ago I asked the city commission to address the fact that Commissioner Scott Maddox was violating the City Charter by not living in the city. They had no interest in addressing the issue. Now that a private citizen seeks an opportunity to prove this violation in court, the city now wants to get involved. The city commission is not interested in enforcing the City Charter, they are simply trying to protect their fellow commissioner.”

The next hearing should take place within the next three weeks.

11 Responses to "Judge Charles Dodson Allows City in Jackson-Maddox Residency Case"

  1. The judges decision isn’t a win for the city, but merely grants the city the right to be heard. The judge may rule the city has original jurisdiction to interpret the law.However, such a decision would place the city commissioners in the unethical position of voting on a matter in which they have a personal or political interest. Additionally, any ruling by the city can be appealed to the circuit court.
    The city isn’t trying to win, just in delaying the decision until AFTER the election.
    Dennis Barton may have the most intriguing interpretation, that the other commissioners may be looking for a chance to dump Maddox, who has perfected the art of opposing unpopular commission votes purely for the political benefit to himself.

  2. The time loop continues…the (alleged) fraudster expends taxpayer dollars, city resources, time, and energy to defend the fraud. What type of person does this? Groundhog day all over again…we just got over the years Mr. Maddox did the same thing regarding expending the same city resources to cover-up the firing of minorities for knowing too much.

    Why is Mr. Maddox given carte blanche to break the law and rules? Thinking nothing of utilizing city resources to rescue him from his misdeeds. This is sad, embarrassing, and it drags down the efficiency of the City of Tallahassee government. It gives Tallahassee a bad reputation on the state and national levels. We know all too well the consequences on the local level; #1 in crime in Florida, a failed CDA, utility crisis, sewage spillage, etc.

    Will it be groundhog day all over again…and again?

    1. Hope, you know the answer to your question:
      He who takes walks with the (former) executive editor is absolved of all transgressions..

  3. The City’s interpretation that “the question of residency is only relevant when the winning candidate takes office” is contrary to the City Charter and qualifications information posted by the Supervisor of Elections.

    The City Charter Section 7-5 states “Any person who is a resident of the city and is a qualified elector therein may become a candidate for nomination to the office of mayor or city commissioner for the city by taking and subscribing to an oath or affirmation in substantially the following form and filing the same as provided by state law:

    “…that he or she is a resident and qualified elector in the City of Tallahassee….”

    Several SoE documents for City Commissioner also state a candidate must be a “resident of the City of Tallahassee at the time of qualifying” or “Candidate must reside in city at time of qualifying.”

    Maddox, and every other potential City Commission candidate, was required to sign this document, under oath, stating he resided in the City in order to become a candidate for office, not to hold office.

  4. This is an interesting conundrum. Does the City Commission protect its own and devise a position that defines “residence” as something other than what most people believe it to be, or, do they take this opportunity to dump a commissioner who has not been in lock step with the mayor and his followers?

  5. So the City Commisars get to put their thumb on the scale again, just like they did with the “independent” (wink, wink) ethics board?


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