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Stewart’s Blog: City of Tallahassee has Bungled Residency Issue for Years, Ignores Easy Solution

Posted on December 4, 2016

Stewart’s Blog: City of Tallahassee has Bungled Residency Issue for Years, Ignores Easy Solution

The clear intent of the City of Tallahassee Charter is that City Commissioners should be residents when seeking office and when serving.

What is not clear are the rules set forth to enforce this Charter requirement.

However, evidence indicates the City of Tallahassee has been aware of the ambiguous enforcement rules for more than a decade and have elected to do nothing.

Consider this.

When former Mayor John Marks was pondering a run for Mayor of Tallahassee in the early 2000’s, he was not a resident of the City of Tallahassee.

However, Marks was the “insider pick” for the office. So the City of Tallahassee insiders set out to “fix” the residency issue.

First they tried to get the City of Tallahassee to annex his home located in the upscale neighborhood of Bobbin Brook. But the Mayor at the time blocked the move because he said he did not think that the City should provide services for a property annexed for political purposes.

That Mayor was Scott Maddox.

Subsequently, John Marks bought a condo within the City of Tallahassee boundaries to qualify as a candidate and when he was elected, the City of Tallahassee annexed Marks’ home.

No problem. Rules avoided. System rigged.

Fast forward.

In March of 2012, Scott Maddox decided to run for a City Commission seat. He did not live in the City and so he held a press conference and said he was putting his million dollar home outside the city limits up for sale and moving to a home, located downtown on North Adams Street.

For four years the rumors and the jokes of where Maddox lived were rampant. Everyone “in the know” knew about the issue -including Mayor Andrew Gillum and the other three Commissioners. But nothing was done to clarify the enforcement mechanisms.

Now, with Mr.Maddox seeking re-election, the issue has reared it’s head again, in a very public way.

And guess what? Maddox’s million dollar home, outside the city limits, is up for sale again, four years later.

Due to the ambiguity of the law, for a lot of people, where you stand on this issue is based a great deal on how you feel about Scott Maddox.

However, at a minimum, even supporters of Mr. Maddox  should demand the City of Tallahassee to clarify the rules on residency.

And the solution is as easy as this:

To qualify as a candidate for the City Commission, the City Clerk must verify that the candidate, one year before the qualifying date, was a registered voter within the city limits with the same address that is on their drivers license.

Once a candidate is elected, each year the elected official is required to provide a copy of their drivers license and their voter registration card to the City Clerk.

And finally, each year the elected official is required to provide to the City Clerk a letter from the IRS verifying the address where the elected officials personal income taxes were filed.

That is it. Simple solution. Maybe the City Commission can get this done.

8 Responses to Stewart’s Blog: City of Tallahassee has Bungled Residency Issue for Years, Ignores Easy Solution

  1. Frances Powell Reply

    December 4, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Won’t happen, Maddox will get a pass. If they don’t let him skate then the county might be forced to address the issue of Proctor’s residence.

  2. The rules should apply to all Reply

    December 4, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Or, if the citizens really don’t care where their elected officials live, and that provision is not going to be enforced anyway, change the requirements!

  3. Steve Reply

    December 5, 2016 at 7:12 am

    They are Democrats. That means all corruption all the time.

  4. Steven Hougland Reply

    December 5, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Excellent, fair, and unbiased reporting on this issue. Candidates are required to live within the city limits in order to get their name on the ballot. The proposed solution makes sense and makes compliance and enforcement easy. I would add that at the time of qualification, the Supervisor of Elections should take the same steps to verify the candidate lives within the city.

    The other local newspaper claims this is a non-issue–that Maddox, and essentially all elected officials, can conduct their business from wherever they lay their hat at the end of the day. They’ve even stooped to name-calling. They’ve labeled Erwin Jackson, who is trying to hold Maddox and essentially all elected city officials accountable, a “gadfly.” Rather than fact-checking, they’ve condoned unlawful behavior and demeaned the one person who is doing what is right. How deplorable!

    Thank you, TR!

  5. Hope Reply

    December 5, 2016 at 10:06 am

    When someone is ethically challenged and refuses to respect the rules and laws it is unfortunate that this person is in a position who votes on making our laws. A person who would make his family live in his office to skirt the residency requirement and deny his family a ten acre estate with a guest house, pool, and other amenities – above and beyond what the norm – is simply beyond comprehension.

    Well, fortunately I doubt (and am certain) that he doesn’t really deny his family to live at the estate, but he and now his wife just say they do. Remember, this is coming from the same two who were paid salaries by Mr. Maddox’s father out of the PBA funds meant for police employees and their families. Funds that were so egregiously mismanaged and misappropriated that Mr. Maddox’s father was ousted and denied a pension for the gross misuse.

    Like father like son…look at what Mr. Maddox is now teaching his sons. It is ok to dupe the taxpayers and skirt the laws in order to obtain a city commission salary and benefits and then use tax dollars and resources to defend it.

    It is deplorable that the Tallahassee Democrat editor condones this behavior along with Mr. Sachs who condones it also. They both should have added the disclaimers as giving and receiving funds to Mr. Maddox through advertising and campaign contributions.

    When you have this level of deceit it spills over into the level of leadership and competency one has, hence; the result being #1 in crime, utility and CDA debacles.

    It is sad to watch the way Mr. Maddox treats his family…and citizens, and sad the way the Tallahassee Democrat and Mr. Sachs condone,enables, and promotes the factors that leads to Mr. Maddox harming our community and making it unhealthy.

  6. No changes for Tally Reply

    December 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

    As always great reporting. The city is and always will be corrupt. Liberals don’t think the rules pertain to them. Look at HRC bashing Trump for not agreeing, in hole, with the election results prior to the election and then challenging them after she lost. This will not stop until the Citizens MAKE IT STOP. Unfortunately most Tallahasseans vote D all the time and are not willing to listen to new ideas.

  7. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Reply

    December 7, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Why in the world would the city want to fix a problem it does not consider to be broken? You are proposing they clarify a definition they don’t want clarified. Only a strong citizen initiative will make them act, but most voters may not care.

  8. Old Cop Reply

    December 8, 2016 at 11:50 am

    So, a political activist from Chicago who opens an office in Tallahassee and claims to live there, can run for the city commission? Hang on Tallahassee.

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