Parker’s Perspective: Bryant Might Work, the Process Sure Didn’t

Parker’s Perspective: Bryant Might Work, the Process Sure Didn’t

It is hard to evaluate an elected official’s fitness for office. The nature of our political system has evolved not to get the best and brightest, but to get the most obstinate, most malleable, or most likable. John Adams, eventually to become our second President, saw and lamented the rise of the two-party system, set against each other in opposition and willing to back any candidate that would see things in a subjective manner. Subjectivity is the defining struggle we face right now in our system of leadership. Rarely does an opportunity come along to get to the middle well-rounded ground. Our chance to do this was with the replacement for Scott Maddox.

City commissioners could have established a public process based on previous experience in running for office. This would have allowed for more time and public discourse on candidates already familiar to the community, and would have sent the right, positive message to candidates to run for future elections. That was the message worth sharing; that your success is based upon your own personal effort and not on membership or patronage. The commissioners put the community through a process with no public criteria, which allowed private interests to weigh in heavily. If commissioners were not satisfied with the caliber of candidates that ran in the past, they should have said so. Of course, that’s not the public dialog we’ve come to expect. Such candor is missing. Elaine Bryant ended up being the safe choice, and it will remain to be seen whether she was the best choice.

Florida Sunshine Laws were not necessarily broken, though the intent of the law is to shed light and hold officials accountable. Having aides scurry back and forth between commissioners and letting specific phone calls get through is probably not the type of proceedings that Sunshine Laws were intended to de facto support. The rapidity in which Tabitha Frazier was dumped by commissioners as their most obvious choice means they didn’t do their due diligence and had second thoughts. It feels coordinated and neither fair or impartial to Ms. Frazier or the public. Once again, this could have been avoided by criteria that put the public in charge, such as taking only written applications and emails of support, getting public input over a series of public meetings, and limiting applicants to those who previously filed for office.

Because commissioners did things the way they did, they missed a golden opportunity to promote public dialogue and combat cynicism. It points to the likelihood of leadership that thinks of simple advantages at the expense of progress on multiple fronts. I for one hope Commissioner Bryant succeeds, and every indication is that she is already asking the right questions. Bryant might end up being a bright shining star, but the public was taken for granted in this first muddling step of a post-Maddox commission.

Daniel Parker is an author, educator, and public servant. He may be reached at

24 Responses to "Parker’s Perspective: Bryant Might Work, the Process Sure Didn’t"

  1. Great news there on !!!
    The city commission will soon begin ethics training !!!
    Soon we will have nothing to itich and moan about as everything will be done in an ethical manner!!!
    All we will have to do is sit in circles and sing kumbaya !!!
    “Oh Lord Kumbaya Oh Lord Kumbaya” !!!

  2. Especially the time frame leading up to July 20th 2017 – when Bryant was being paid by Human Resources: for what? By whom? What was the deliverable? Who requested her services? Why is the City paying an outside consultant while firing employees? Any AKA sisters in Human Resources?

    1. IM,

      I second that to find out the answers to these questions.

      On another topic regarding the Tallahassee Democrat’s lead story regarding AC Fried and the Second Harvest Food Bank…this is a democratic Rick Minor publicity stunt. It didn’t take newly elected county commissioner Rick Minor long to misuse his executive level position at the Second Harvest Food Bank to orchestrate a democratic party publicity stunt for newly-elected agricultural commissioner Fried.

      The Tallahassee Democrat reporter James Call fails to mention this info regarding Rick Minor. But, the Tallahassee Democrat uses a photo op of AC Fried and county commissioner Mary Ann Lindley, the former Tallahassee Democrat editorial page editor, seen with A C Fried. Mary Ann Lindley was a longtime enabler, endorser, and promoter of the Tallahassee corruption that has made Leon County the crime-ridden city it is today.

      Seems like only yesterday when the Democrats pulled the same publicity stunt only using Andrew Gillum stopping by a local children’s event at a city-run Park cutting apples.

      As the saying goes in the Democratic arena the apples don’t fall far from the trees.

      I believe the better story would be an investigative report to determine if Rick Minor used the Democratic Party email address list to add to his mailing list at Second Harvest.

      These Democratic publicity stunts need to stop and misusing and abusing the public to promote themselves.

        1. So was it ever positively determined who the actual ‘owners’ are or were?

          So, I Reread that article again; thx for posting again Maven; in this context. If no one owned/invested over 10%; then that means at least 10 investor/owners total – correct?

          Come on FBI, when will we get that info – seems the ATF was requiring it; but some of these folks were too entitled to comply? Let’s see who could those other 7 be? Like someone who got an ‘Owners’ investment discount??? Or someone who went to Costa Rica with Corey and Pittman? Snidely any guesses?

  3. Choosing the candidate that recently received significant payments from the City of Tallahassee is troubling.

    Citizens have a right to know what prompted these payments such as was this a contract award through a legitimate bid process?

    What was the reason for the payments?

    Citizens have a right to know and this process did not allow time for citizens to ask these questions.

  4. If the Commissioners had the Treasurer Clerk simply schedule 3 open days (26th – 28th) and scheduled 30 applicants per day in an open forum (like the Commission Chamber and televised it) and each candidate present a 5 minute elevator talk (budget 15 minute per applicant) in an OPEN FORUM without violating rules; Ba-Da-Boom Done. No note swapping, no violations of trust and no issues. Oh – and no law suit from Jackson and the new Governor making the appointment (not Bryant); then we change the policy immediately – as Action 1. It’s Not rocket science is it City Employees?

  5. The Commissioners did things the way they did because that is what the policy allows(forces) them to do. Sure it would be nice to have time to allow citizens time to evaluate (and have more input on) the new Commissioner. The policy was written to quickly fill a temporary position, and there is no ability to allow time to fully evaluate(and allow proper public input on) candidates within the time constraints of the existing policy. Maybe instead of complaining that the Commissioners followed policy we should start a conversation on changing the policy to allow more public input.

    1. Actually the Commission put the vote off until the last possable minute before The Governor was going to appoint Maddox’ replacement to make folks think this had to be fast tracked.
      Why just read Stanley Sims comment above he’s a believer and optimistic !!!
      The policy did not force them to try and fool the citizens…they did that on their own and some just want to believe everything is just peachy here in The Capital City.

  6. It is a shame the taxpayers have to put up with such commission incompetence and the real problem is that same never gets any better……… is just more of the same old , same old, with truly qualified folks sitting on the sidelines or being completely over looked to satisfy those with questionable agenda”s. There must be some relief other than moving the heck out of this town !!

  7. Matlow is ineffective and out on an island by himself. He wants to be the maverick and now can’t run fast enough to the power commissioners being Richardson, Cox, and Bryant. They don’t need him anymore to push their agenda, ie, Richardson is mayor pro tem for the second year. That should have been Matlow. He got slapped back into reality which is his first lesson of many to come. Daley remains relevant since he sets the agenda, but Matlow…not so much.

  8. I totally disagree with this article… I for one is very supportive of how the selection was made and truly sent a message to this ENTIRE Community and not the selected chosen few…. We will listen to all, and then make a responsible decision. Matlow’s leadership and demonstration of building bridges and not WALLS are rewarding. I optimistic for Tallahassee’ Future…

  9. The first order of business by this commission was a complete failure. Rather than serving the citizens, they turned it in to a political power grab. They had no system that vetted the applicants which was illustrated by their first top pick.

    There should have been a meeting(s) following their second selection and I believe this is where Dr. Erwin Jackson’s lawsuit has merit that will potentially (and hopefully) nullify the first process.

    Although, the process should not be limited to previous candidates only, the commission overlooked some very good applicants who were previous candidates.

  10. Mr Parker,
    At least the City Commissioners had a process unlike Rocky Hanna who without interviews promoted Alan Cox, Gillian Gregory, Kathleen Rodgers and Merrill Wimberley to Assistant Superintendent positions all with hefty raises, then doing the same promoting Shelly Bell and Sue Kraul.The school board rubber-stamped/never questioned any of this. Now as teachers are fighting for a raise Rocky has given raises to his buddies John Hunkiar along with Donna McAllister, while Gillian Gregory gives out raises to her lunch bunch buddies. Look into the reign of error of Rocky Hanna. You might also want to inquire about the plethora of newly classified “home school” students that pumped up the graduation rates.

      1. I hope he keeps it up. Lots of people have been treated unfairly by Rocky Hanna and his team. I personally find it somewhat comforting to know I am not the only one.

  11. I don’t think she’s a safe choice at all. From her CV, I see lots of potential conflicts of interest. And limiting candidates to only those who have run in the past – why?
    Should we only want to (s)elect The Biggest Loser?
    On another note, we’re still waiting on the content of the text message Curtis Richardson sent Bryant prior to her coronation.

    1. Our “new Mayor” (I will not promote his name like Preston refuses to promote the names of mass shooters) gets an F- grade for allowing this travasity to be his first real act on the job.
      Can we impeach our “new Mayor”?

      1. Don’t see much difference between the patronage-loving Mayor Daley I read about in my youth and the current Mayor Dailey I read about in my golden years.

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