City Commission Votes for Tougher Ordinance, Ethics Board Gets More Power

City Commission Votes for Tougher Ordinance, Ethics Board Gets More Power

On Monday the Tallahassee City Commission voted to move forward with a number of ethics ordinance proposals that will give the Independent Ethics Board (IEB) more power.

Together, the adopted amendments – most recommended by the IEB – will give the Board expanded authority to investigate ethics charges and levy higher fines.

In addition, the City Commission adopted other reforms which address financial disclosure and lobbyist registration.

Listed below are key actions taken by the City Commission during Monday’s workshop. 

Who is covered by Ethics Board?

The City Commission voted 5-0 to adopt the IEB’s recommendation related to “covered individuals.” The IEB’s proposed “covered individuals” include:

  • Public officials which, in turn, are broadly defined to include elected officials and their aides, appointed officials, and individuals appointed to any “advisory, quasi-judicial or any other board of the city, state, or any other regional, local, or and corporate entity;”
  • Employees and board members required by statute to file financial disclosure (Form 1); and
  • Procurement employees, defined to include any City employee who has participated in the previous 12 months in a procurement, the cost of which exceeds $10,000.  

Corrupt Standard or Should Have Known Standard

The City Commission voted 4-1 to adopt the IEB’s recommendation for lowering the bar for prosecutions for “misuse of office” to a “knew or should have known” standard, as opposed to the “corruptly” standard. 

The City Attorney’s Office (CAO) recommended retaining the “corruptly” standard.

Restitution and Fines

The City Commission voted to authorize fines up to $1,000 per violation. The City Commission also voted to allow restitution to be included as a potential part of a penalty for violations.

Form 6 Financial Disclosure

The City Commission decided not to wait on the Florida Legislature and voted 5-0 to move forward with requiring elected officials and certain city employees to provide more detailed personal financial information through Form 6.

Gifts

The City Commission voted 5-0 to adopt the CAO recommendation on the prohibition of gifts. The proposal tracks the gift definition in Chapter 112 of the Florida Statutes.

Lobbyists

The City Commission voted 5-0 to increase fines for lobbyists that fail to register with the Treasurer Clerk’s office. The penalties will start at $1,000 for the first violation and increase with each additional violation by $500.

Statute of Limitations

The City Commission voted 5-0 to adopt a five-year statute of limitations for the ethics code. The CAO had recommended two years.

This means no action may be taken on a complaint filed more than five years after the violation is alleged to have occurred unless a person, by fraud or other device, prevents discovery of the violation.

The next step in the process is for the CAO to write an ordinance that will reflect the votes on the issues addressed at the workshop. City Attorney Cassandra Jackson said that a draft ordinance would be presented to the City Commission in November.

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10 Responses to "City Commission Votes for Tougher Ordinance, Ethics Board Gets More Power"

  1. Avatar
    Old Cop   October 28, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    The mayor hijacked the first hour of the workshop to allow supporters of the city manager to publicly state their support, and contradict commissioner Matlow’s low rating of him. In disregard of the purpose of the meeting, friends, subordinates, and those who rely on the city for their money spoke glowingly of Mr Goad. The mayor even asked all who were there in support of the city manager to raise their hand. He did not ask how many were present in support of Mr Matlow. To allow only one side to be recognized was an egregious display of parliamentary abuse by the mayor. He should be ashamed of his blatant misuse of the chairman’s prerogatives.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Hope   October 28, 2019 at 6:40 pm

      The mayor has completely gone off the rails. This is so offensive, unprofessional, and inciting personnel to further his personal political agendas only reinforces that this mayor needs to resign as well.Immediately! He simply cannot lead.

      I hope Mr Matlow will call for the mayor to resign as well.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      News Maven   October 28, 2019 at 10:54 pm

      Goadies Toadies.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Snidely Whiplash   October 29, 2019 at 7:02 am

        Sounds like the Mayor’s boyfriend and that big ‘ole blondie Independent hyphenated Ethics Officer’s boyfriend are one in the same. Without mentioning any names his initials may be R. G.
        I mean honestly that is the one and only logical answer to the Mayor having R. G.’s “back” in this situation.
        However I could be wrong. If thats the case then the only remaining logical explanation is the Mayor’s an idiot.
        It’s gotta be one of the two only logical explanations above for the Mayor’s illogical defense of Goad…but which one???

        Reply
  2. Avatar
    Curtis   October 28, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    I hope those city employees took leave to make their presentations. I’m not sure its ethical for employees on a public payroll to be lobbying the city commission during business hours even if it was just a workshop.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Thomas C. Hooker   October 28, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Would this cover the Blueprint staff as well?

    Would this prevent any Penny Sales Tax Extension Committee member from purchasing property alongside a proposed road that the public was not aware of the proposed road when approving the tax on a ballot?

    Hello?

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    TONY   October 29, 2019 at 6:51 am

    “The City Commission voted 4-1 to adopt the IEB’s recommendation for lowering the bar for prosecutions for “misuse of office” to a “knew or should have known” standard” …………… WHO was the one that Voted NO?

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    flybaer   October 29, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Commissioner Curtis Richardson was the lone “no” vote on lowering the standard as well as many other proposals.

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Terry Ryan   October 29, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Cudos to the Commissioners in adopting ethics points much better than those recommended by the CAO.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Hope   October 29, 2019 at 9:04 am

      Yes, it was a step forward a baby step.

      But, 10 steps back on the commission except for Matlow refusing to do a nationwide search for a city manager. Goad is too entrenched and politically connected to be of any value and things are only going to get worse.

      Goad is not qualified doesn’t have the experience or credentials and the salary he is receiving is theft.

      Let the first ethics violation be submitted on mayor Dailey’s seeking the free gift of advertising time through V Kraft autos add. This incident could be cleared up if the production company would send a public letter stating that they duped the mayor, but we are not seeing that.

      If he is doing this he is doing other things and where have we seen this before.

      Also, the ethics Board needs to look into the connection between Mayor Dailey and the $1,200 paid to Tiger Bay where he sits on the board. There is a connection I would think. This needs to be cleared up.

      Reply

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