The City’s Independent Ethics Board was told today, that absent a special workshop scheduled by the Tallahassee City Commission, it is likely their work on a new ethics ordinance will not be addressed by elected officials until next year.
When asked when elected officials would address the proposed ordinance, Julie Meadows-Keefe, the Board’s Ethics Officer, said the city attorney informed her that the City would want to “workshop” the issue.
However, currently there are no open dates for workshops in 2019.
Meadows-Keefe did say the City may be able to schedule a “special workshop” to take up the proposed ordinance.
At the meeting, Board member Gwen Graham said if any city commission members are watching, I hope they see the urgency of the issue and “will do their job.”
Board Chairman Richard Herring said the wait is frustrating but that the Board has done their work and the ball is in the City’s court.
Before the Board took a break, Graham again spoke to the importance of the issue and urged city commissioners to expedite the process.
The new ordinance was developed to strengthen the power of the board, which has been criticized by its lack of action in high profile cases.
For example, a complaint filed against former City Manager Rick Fernandez after he accepted Florida State football tickets from a city lobbyist resulted in a written letter of reprimand from the Board.
The outrage sparked by the complaint eventually caused Fernandez to resign.
The drafted ordinance strengthens the board’s authority by allowing for subpoena power, stiffer punishments, and a zero tolerance policy on any gifts.