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.
I think we need an Independent Ethics Commission to investigate the members and workings of our Independent Ethics Commission. The we can put together a “Task Force” to look into whether or not we put together too many Task Forces…
… ok, now I have a headache
Edward, if it went all the way to the point the person needed to hire an Attorney then, the complaint must of had some teeth to it and the Commission felt the need to follow through with the complaint. I know Erwin Jackson had filed several and think he might be one that filed one on Goad. I knew that once the City Commissioners voted to keep Goad on, the complaint was going to be delayed and then dismissed.
@Hope… As I stated up front in my last comment, “I take your overall point”. And I wasn’t implying that “all” complaints are frivolous and/or false. I wasn’t clear enough on my delineation thereof… so… my bad.
I believe we actually see eye-to-eye on this. I detest public corruption, particularly by those entrusted with the honor of holding public office… and I’ve seen far too much of it in my time and career(s). But I’ve also seen good people maligned and destroyed by lies, false narratives, and agendas…far too often as well. And I believe that the general public as a whole – by design – has become too desensitized to that part of the equation.
Suffice it to say, and confirm… that I agree with your overall position on this.
There is always something to an ethics complaint; they are not frivolous and they are not false, when a citizen has a legitimate concern that is their avenue the process has allowed. Also, please remember the adage that where there is smoke there is fire.
Let us not forget that someone is about to enter the halls of federal prison for corruption who handpicked this city manager not because of his experience and educational credentials (which he does not have to be a city manager), was picked because he would be an ally to the corruption and to those who were/are perpetrating corruption.
I don’t want to know who filed it, but I think the complaint had merit and that for too long the city commissioners need to step up and do a nationwide search for a proper city manager. We have suffered in many ways because of this corrupt action.. Perhaps a complaint should be filed against each City Commissioner until they do this.
Many times there is retribution and pay back for people who report corruption.
I applaud the plaintiff and I only hope that more people come forward because it is not easy to file an ethics complaint. Hopefully, more citizens will step up when they see wrongdoing and corruption.
@Hope… I take your overall point. However, if an ethics complaint(s) rise to the level of requiring a paid-for legal defense, then in my opinion, accountability for the result becomes paramount. If the complaint is properly investigated and dismissed, and furthermore deemed to be false, then the person who leveled the false claim should be held financially accountable for the costs of defense.
I truly believe that if frauds and/or the ambulance chasers who represent them were held financially accountable for the results of their false and frivolous legal actions, we would see a substantial decline in false and frivolous legal actions.
@Publius… excellent question. A breakdown of the ratio of successful-to-unsuccessful complaints, along with the associated cost to the taxpayers, would be good information to have. It may also lend weight to my notion above.
How many ethics cases have been approved since it’s formation and against whom and circumstances?
Hmmm wondering if our old “ethics shmethics” officer Meadows – Keefe was one of the 2 or maybe both of the complaints were filed by her????
Ethics complaints are dismissed all the time and sometimes they shouldn’t be, however if it is dismissed then the government entity should pay the legal fees. I don’t see it as a waste of money I encourage people to come forward and question when they think something is not right.
So… who filed the ethics complaints in the first place, and are there any repercussions for those who filed the “apparent” false claims?
Are we taxpayers no entitled to know who caused the waste of our money?