Though the meeting agenda indicated that the Commission would take action on the issue, no action was taken. Goad said this was the case because the Ethics Board operates independently.
Meadows-Keefe said the Board plans to advertise the position for 30 days and interview candidates in November.
The City Commission addressed the need for a new Chief Ethics Officer at their Sept. 11 meeting.
Current Ethics Officer Julie Meadows-Keefe announced her resignation at the Jul. 16 Ethics Board meeting amid criticism of her actions in the position. Her resignation will take effect no later than Feb. 21, 2020.
The Commission discussed an agenda item to “authorize advertisement and double-fill of the Chief Ethics Officer position for a period of up to two months.”
The Ethics Board had planned an overlap in which the new candidate and Meadows-Keefe would both work in the position at the same time. The Board stated this approach would allow the new hire to get familiar with the responsibilities of the job faster than normal.
City Manager Reese Goad said he met with the Ethics Board after the meeting agenda was published. At this meeting, the Board indicated that they did not intend to double-fill the position, though the agenda indicated that this was the case.
Meadows-Keefe also said at the meeting that the Board does not currently intend to double-fill the position.
“They would like to have a similar individual in the role for my successor,” Meadows-Keefe said. “We are simply waiting for the job to post so the board can do its process.”
The fiscal impact of the double-fill would have been an estimated $25,000 in addition to the $402,000 the City gives the Ethics Office from the General Fund.
As noted in the meeting agenda, the “City of Tallahassee provides payroll, benefits, and other administrative services to the Independent Ethics Office including Human Resource services.”
The Ethics Officer serves as executive director of the Independent Ethics Board, which formed in November 2014. Board responsibilities include running an ethics hotline for fraud and corruption reports.
The Ethics Officer responsibilities include managing the citywide ethics and fraud hotline, coordinating ethics training, referring ethics and corruption concerns to appropriate enforcement agencies, conducting initial reviews of ethics complaints, and supervising other employees of the Board.
The Ethics Board hires, supervises, and evaluates the Ethics Officer.