City Commissioner Gil Ziffer, who was recently elected as the 2017-2018 president of the Florida League of Cities, spoke to the News Service of Florida on a number of issues which included the possible impact of the current FBI investigation of city development deals.
Reporter Lloyd Dunkelberger asked Ziffer “if he believed the ongoing FBI investigation into the city government will have a long-term damaging impact on the city’s image?”
Ziffer responded by saying, “Right now, we live in a time where anyone in elected office is probably more heavily scrutinized than ever before when it comes to their ethics, their decisions. That’s something that we accept when we run for office, that’s something we accept when we are in office. Do I think the Tallahassee name and brand is going to be impacted by it? Probably in some form or fashion, yes. There has been so much media on it, so much coverage of it that unless if you were in a foxhole somewhere you wouldn’t know about it.”
Ziffer also acknowledged the way local leaders handle the aftermath of the investigation will have an impact on how Tallahassee recovers.
“[H]ow we deal with whatever comes out of it and how quickly we deal with it will make the determination of how long that it has a negative effect on our city. I’m confident that after this all is concluded, whenever that is, that we will do what we need to do to make this right within our government and move on and make it better,” said Ziffer.
Ziffer offered no concrete policy changes in the interview, but he told TR in a separate discussion he was gathering information and formulating ideas on how to move forward.
“I have met with the group who pushed for the Independent Ethics Board, the Chairman of the Ethics Board, and the Ethics Officer to determine what we can do to make the process more effective,” said Ziffer.
There have been recent rumblings about the lack of follow through with the city’s Independent Ethic’s Board, which was put in place through a voter referendum with almost 70% of the vote in 2014.