Tallahassee Reports has learned that the City of Tallahassee’s independent ethics board has decided not to investigate the possible misuse of city resources by Mayor Andrew Gillum.
Several media outlets have reported on Gillum’s use of city email and other city resources for political related activities.
The order signed by Board Chair Richard Herring said “having reviewed documents related to the above-referenced matter, and having heard explanation, having discussion and conducting a vote….The Independent Ethics Board will not self-initiate a complaint regarding misuse of city resources.”
The order was released after the Ethics Board meeting on May 16, 2017.
Sources have told Tallahassee Reports that the decision was not based on the merits of the accusations lodged against Gillum, but rather the lack of authority of the Ethics Board.
Tallahassee Reports wrote in March that the City’s Ethics Board was seeking more authority from the City of Tallahassee.
In a letter to the City Commission, the Board said that the Ethics Board counsel concluded the Board lacks concurrent jurisdiction with the Florida Commission on Ethics. The Ethics Board informed the City Commission that this finding significantly limits the Board’s formal jurisdiction.
The Board also asked the City Commission to amend relevant ordinances to allow for complaints to be addressed in four areas. One of the areas was misuse of office.
The Ethics Board told the City Commission the Board “believes they should be able to address complaints concerning any City official or employee who uses his or her public position for more than minimal private benefit of any person.”
The City Commission has yet to respond to the request by the Ethics Board.