Dr. Erwin Jackson believes the Tallahassee City Commission violated Florida’s Sunshine Law and has filed a lawsuit with the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County.
Dr. Jackson told TR that “given the millions of dollars our city government spends on legal advice it is disappointing they can’t devise a selection process that conforms to State Sunshine Law.”
The filing states:
the City of Tallahassee, acting through the Tallahassee City Commission, made decisions on over 90 applications to fill a vacancy on the City Commission without holding a public meeting. Deciding which candidates to keep and which to reject for a public office is a quintessential governmental function. The public had a right to hear from the Commissioners about their reasoning and to offer comment on the applicants before the City Commission narrowed the applicant pool to a small group of finalists. Excluding the public from this process was a Sunshine Law violation.
The filing notes that under Florida law, “[a]ll meetings of any . . . municipal corporation . . . at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, and no resolution, rule, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such meeting. The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.” (286.011(1), Fla. Stat.)
The filing also cites examples from previous court cases.
For example, Jackson argues, through his attorney, that in Leach-Wells v. City of Bradenton, 734 So. 2d 1168 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999), the court concluded that the short-listing of applicants was a formal action that was required to occur at a publicly noticed meeting.
In that case, the Bradenton City Council created a committee to screen responses to a request for proposals for a large city construction contract. The committee was to review the proposals and rank the top three firms. Those firms would then make presentations to the City Council, which would select a winner.
However, the screening committee never held a public meeting; rather, it only sent its selections to the City Council for further consideration. Later, at the City Council meeting, only the three short-list firms made public presentations.
The court said that “there is no question that the committee members’ individual evaluations were tallied and acted upon, albeit by the unilateral action of the city clerk, which resulted in three bidders being selected to make presentations to the Council.”
The court concluded “that the short-listing was formal action that was required to be taken at a public meeting.”
Dr. Jackson, among other things, is seeking that the Court declare that the City violated the Sunshine Law when it took official action on the applicants to fill the vacancy on the City Commission and that the recent appointment is null and void.
The filing argues that based on the actions of the City of Tallahassee that Section 14 of the City Charter requires the Florida Governor make the appointment to fill the vacancy on the City Commission.
Well said! Dr. Jackson is crooked through and through… only interested with what affects Jackson Properties, a student based housing slumlord agency
I find it hilarious how Dr. Jackson is willing to sue the city’s leadership from top to bottom, but not his buddy Wayne Tedder who helped him circumvent several zoning laws for his student housing properties. If you’re going to go after corruption, don’t forget your own. Hypocrite.
Mike, thanks for the article. The COT is at a tipping point. At the very least, we need to change the charter to include districts so that there is fair representation. We cannot allow our city to be held hostage by minorities and that is now exactly what has happened. I can’t wait to hear exactly what Curtis Richardson texted to Elaine Bryant before the vote. No questions asked of any of the candidates. The decision was made and RB Holmes was present to make sure the commissioners did as he desired. Diane Williams Cox is a joke. Bryant, Richardson & Cox will not represent fairly. Again, no representation for residents north of I-10. Very, very concerning.
Minorities? I’m sure the mayor and at least one other commissioner is not any kind of a minority. Furthermore, how do you think minorities have felt all these many years when they had no representation at all? It feels awful, huh? Remember that when others are complaining about taxation with no representation. If you have it your way, we’d spend on sidewalks on your side of town while the “others” and the minorities are living in squalor. It’s fair because you pay more taxes, am I right??? You do see the crime coming your way, don’t you? If I were you, I’d be trying to help the minorities get their lives on track so they don’t come stealing from the better people in northeast tally. LOL. I’m just messing with you, I get your point. Just want you to realize we’re all in this together, and the me vs them mentality will come home to roost.
Story I want to read now:
“How Sandy Springs’ deannexation from Atlanta became so successful”
Maven, glad you mentioned! I’ve carried the Secession banner here at TR for several years now – it’s long been apparent in my 12 years in Tally that COT is a corrupt culture and determined to remain that way. This from “American Renaissance” March 11, 2013:
Just substitute the name “Tallahassee” for “Atlanta” – the circumstances are the same. This paragraph is a particularly familiar local tune except for the name:
“At the very top, the head of DeKalb’s government is the position of CEO. The current CEO, Burrell Ellis, is being investigated for a list of concerns, including alleged bid rigging. Police searched Ellis’s home and office recently, and local news outlets report that while no charges have been filed, search warrants are reportedly aimed toward potential extortion, bribery, theft, conspiracy, and wire fraud in connection with private vendors who contract with the county.”
And this point about how well the Secessionist cities fared:
“These cities, after breaking away politically from urban Atlanta, have become so successful that a libertarian think tank, the Reason Foundation, has featured Sandy Springs as a model of effective government.”
Northeast Tallahassee – a new city awaits forming and we have the ability to do the same as the Atlanta suburbs did in 2005.
Thank you Dr Jackson! On behalf of the Concerned Citizen s of Leon County please investigate Rocky Hanna who for poltical payback gave Assistant Superintendent jobs without any interviews yo the following individuals who were given salaries of over $100,000 without ever being interviewed
Kathleen Rodgers, Gillian Gregory, Merrill Wimberely, Alan Cox. Political promotions with pay increases without interviews were also given to Shelly Bell, Sue Kraul and Justin Williamson.
The school board refuses to act on these, we need Dr. Jackson!
Speaking of Shelley, looks like she’s in a pi$$ing match on the west side:
I see a future where there is a bronze “Sandy Proctor” statue of Dr. Erwin Jackson down in front of City Hall. The inscription below should read, “never stopped seeking truth”. We should all start a go fund me account. Keep up the fight Dr. Jackson!
This town is full of democrats and democrats only vote for the home team. Until you can change the thought process of sheep, nothing will ever change.
This democrat is unsatisfied with the process, too. Just sayin…
Re: “Anon January 2, 2019 at 1:42 pm”: The city attorneys have been ‘dealing from the bottom of the deck’ for decades and doing so with impunity within the fortified and safe fortress walls of Sh, er, City Hall. For decades Tallahasseans have been and still largely are ‘fat dumb and happy’. Kinda like the joke about the good things about Nazi Germany; “at least they got the trains to run on time.”
We who really care are in the minority and the folks within the castle walls know it.
Thank you, Dr. Jackson for your large and bright spotlight.
Our City Government is a disgrace, they are all a bunch of crooks and liars.
The safest play is to assume they are lying to us, no matter how inocuous or benign the issue is. They are not capable of the truth, period.
This statement my get a bunch of disagreement, but Mayor John Dailey is a good man. He is the only city commissioner smart enough to get us moving in the right direction. I am pulling for him to chart a way forward for all of us.
It seems like court cases to stop something only work when Leftists file suit to stop Conservatives.
Yeah I know Dr. Jackson is a Democrat and all.
Good luck Dr. J.!!!
And if Karen Gievers is assigned to the case no one will blaim you if you just throw in the towel.
Just get a change of venue to a conservative county – Wakulla or Jefferson.
Change of venue has to be granted…if it’s assigned to Gievers, you really think she’ll grant a change of venue based on her own inability to be impartial???
Unfortunately the Sunshine Law is being violated all over the state with city commissions, county commissions, port and airport authorities, and school boards. Of course technology makes it even more complicated. Are conference calls between two or three elected officials a violation? what about group texts and emails? Or Skyping?
What about the text message between Curtis Richardson and the new commissioner she mentioned on Monday night after the vote? Were they talking about upcoming City business? If so is that another violation of sunshine laws?
Dr. Jackson as a side note, although related in part! Has anyone asked about the conflict of interest betwbetween Walker and attorney Dobson?
A public record request needs to be emplaced for all notes, emails, information exchanged between the new aides of the new Commissioners where they standardized their questions, responses and shared information. And there were some/many. Of course, the City Attorney knew….
That’s a Bingo!
Please make the governor aware because by City Commission Policy 144 – Filing Unanticipated Commission Vacancies – If any vacancy is not filled within 20 working days after it has occurred, an appointment to fill shall be made by the governor.
Good point, Toby – if this filing by Dr. Jackson is won and the COT’s new commissioner is ruled invalid, then Gov. Ron DeSantis should be able to appoint the new city Commissioner. It would be great if Gov. DeSantis appointed Dr. Erwin Jackson or a diehard Conservative, so Tallahassee would finally have a true ‘outsider’ who fights the usual COT collusion and corruption – and who has a commanding view of what goes on in city hall.
Thank you, Dr. Jackson! You are doing us all a great service and we appreciate you!
Bravo, Dr. Jackson!
If Jackson wins, I’d like to see the City attorney fired for screwing up the system and wasting tax dollars, time.