On July 21, 2021, the President of Tallahassee Professional Firefighters, Joseph Davis, filed an ethics complaint against Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad. Davis claims that Goad misused his public position through intimidation related to his request for public records.
When contacted by TR, the City of Tallahassee said they would not comment on the complaint.
In his letter requesting the Florida Commission on Ethics to conduct an investigation of City Manager Goad, Davis states that on April 19, 2021, he submitted a request for public records to the City of Tallahassee for documents regarding the Fire Services Fee of the city and related items.
His request for records came about due to concerns over “substantial cuts to the Tallahassee Fire Department budget and possible safety risks that could result.” Following his request, he was told by “fire department staff” that the request did not “sit well” with the City Manager.
Davis then made a second request for the public records on May 21, 2021. On May 25, 2021, Davis met with Battalion Chief Byron Meadows, Deputy Chief Eugene Sanders, and the Fire Chief regarding the request. Davis was told during the meeting that the City Manager wanted him to “stand down,” and if he did not do so, “it would not be good for anyone.”
Davis believes the City Manager was making a threat by involving the Fire Chief, who has the ability to affect his work or terminate him. Davis was also concerned about retaliation against himself or his members if he did not back down.
Davis contends that the City Manager abused his power by threatening an employee to “stand down” and that he “betrayed the public trust, in that he used bullying tactics to keep the public from being informed about matters which could possibly bring his decision-making into question…”
The Florida Commission on Ethics will begin an investigation if it is found the complaint meets certain legal standards.