The City Commissioners voted on March 10 to reimburse City Manager Reese Goad’s attorney’s fees related to two ethics complaints. The decision comes after the dismissal of both complaints.
According to the meeting agenda, the two complaints filed on September 15, 2020, alleged that Goad pressured subordinates to speak on his behalf at a meeting and directed that campaign signs of some specific candidates for office be removed, which allegedly took place on or about October 27-28, 2019.
Both complaints were dismissed by the City of Tallahassee Independent Ethics Board’s Orders dated December 31, 2020, and February 10, 2021, respectively. The agenda item stated that “City Manager Goad prevailed on every aspect of the complaints which were brought against him.”
Based on the findings, Goad submitted an application seeking reimbursement of $3,810 for attorney Ronald G. Meyer of the law firm of Meyer, Brooks, Blohm and Hearn, P.A. The reimbursement was for 14.4 hours of work representing Goad.
The reimbursement entitlement is pursuant to the 2012 approved and adopted City Commission Policy 103, Section 103.05 which states “The City shall reimburse public officials, officers and employees for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs that such persons have incurred when they successfully defend or prevail in ethics complaints that arise out of and in connection with the scope of their City employment while acting in their official capacity and serving a public purpose.”
City Attorney Cassandra Jackson recommended the reimbursement to Goad. She said that to determine the amount that the City should be responsible for, she surveyed the customary hourly rate of attorneys in the Tallahassee area with similar experience and representation. She said $400 per hour is the customary rate charged for cases before the Florida Commission on Ethics, which is attorney Meyer’s approved current hourly rate by the 2013 City Commission.