At a press conference on Friday, City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow addressed the sentencing of former City Commissioner Scott Maddox and made what he called “six common-sense reforms” related to local government ethics.
Matlow said that “yesterday’s sentencing of former Mayor and City Commissioner Scott Maddox and former Downtown Improvement Authority Director Paige Carter-Smith on public corruption charges marks a milestone in the history of Tallahassee City Government.”
Matlow noted that end of the public corruption trial is only the beginning for those of us who fight for progress and justice in Tallahassee.
Based on a public ethics forum held last week and attended by public corruption experts, law professors, and concerned citizens, Matlow proposed six reforms.
These reforms include:
- Closing the lobbyist loophole. We should adopt the Independent Ethics Board’s recommendations to expand the definition of lobbying to include anyone who is compensated by a private interest to influence government policy. Public officials should keep contact logs from meetings with lobbyists and all agendas should disclose who registered to lobby on each item.
- Expanding Whistleblower protections. All Employees should feel protected and safe coming forward with information. The Ethics Board should be empowered to field complaints from public employees and others who have knowledge of wrongdoing.
- Ending no-bid contracts. Competitive-bidding is the hallmark of good public policy. Requiring two public hearings to sell off public land can help repair the City’s reputation for favoritism in development decisions, and safeguard taxpayer dollars to ensure the people are always getting a fair deal when it comes to land we as a community own.
- Banning for life anyone convicted of Honest Services Fraud.
- A complete audit of all contracts, policies, and personnel decisions influenced by former Commissioner Maddox. We know for a fact, as reported in the Democrat, that major public agency heads were swapped out like a game by big-money lobbyists and corrupt elected officials. Companies making payments to former Commissioner Maddox continue to receive public contracts. There is no reason we cannot revisit those decisions — and to truly restore the public trust, we must.
- A vendor Code of Ethics. Entities that receive public funding must be held to a high ethical standard. Any vendors found to use an unregistered lobbyist should forfeit any right to taxpayer dollars.
Matlow said that the proposals will be discussed at an upcoming Town Hall on this topic via Zoom on October 6 at 6 pm.
Matow concluded his remarks by saying that the “dark cloud of corruption that had enveloped Tallahassee for an entire era in local government is finally lifting. We hope you will join us in forging a brighter day at City Hall — towards a city that truly works for everyone.”
Didn’t they just award a behind the scenes radio contract? Why didn’t he stop it?
While we’re at it, let’s also follow Matlow’s plan to defend TPD and repurpose it towards homeless services!
@ Garrison Key: NO, it was Dr. Erwin Jackson that Exposed it and GOT the FBI involved.
I think Matlow is a Saint for beating this into public consciousness and discourse. He is not positioning himself for higher office; instead he is cleaning up the mess created and left behind by others quietly retired, who are negotiating consulting fees based on their knowledge of systemic weaknesses. Remember it was FBI who exposed all these guys not local lizards who attain public office with very low voter turnout.
Good stuff from Matlow.
However this is the kind of stuff Our Honorable Leader and Mayor Flintstone should have been demanding from the first day he was elected.
Because he did not it shows how high the corruption runs in Leon County/Tallahassee.
Curse you stupid leftist voters in Tallahassee/Leon County for making this corruption possible. Stupid idiot voters. Thats why Govorner DeSantis is never going to send in the FDLE in to clean up our $hit hole town…because its a self inflicted wound. Stupid voters.
Until Gillum, Marks, Yordon, Miller, Dozier have charges brought against them, i don’t want to hear another word from matlow.
The lobbyists in many times are the elected officials’ campaign manager(s) or a previous elected official or a current elected official as in Scott Maddox/Gary Yordon. There are no boundaries. This culture has been proven to be illegal, dangerous, and unproductive, yet it is accepted. Case in point Sean Pittman is a lobbyist and campaign manager for Sheriff Walt McNeil, at taxpayers expense.
Then to pour salt in this wound they use taxpayer dollars to send nonprofits and elected officials to Sandestin and Amelia Island under the guise of a business event, but nothing more then a PR event for local PR reps and elected officials at taxpayers expense. The circle of life (corruption and dysfunction) in Leon County is unproductive and even sets us back. Unconscionable.
So much energy is expended on personal interests that businesses suffer, schools suffer, the quality of life suffers, and an out-of-control crime rate.
You are running against Kristin Dozier who participated in real estate transaction deals with J T Burnett, a now convicted felon convicted of corruption in Tallahassee. Did she vote to give money to J T Burnett? Did her family profit with construction contracts from J T Burnett?
You should win handily for District 5 County Commission.
Dick, Long, Goad, Pingree, Hanna, Vancore, Yordon, and Cambell, they are all as dirty as the day is long. The only thing that has changed in Tallahassee is the deletion of Maddox and Smith. It is as corrupt as it has ever been.
These are a good start but why is Honest Services the only Fraud that gets a Life Ban? Why does the City and County Hire Out for Lobbyists instead of Hiring some one on Staff that can do Lobbying as part of their Job? When it comes to Projects in Leon County, I would rather have the Owner, CEO and the CFO tell me their Plans so THEIR Feet can be held to the Fire instead of a Lobbyist who is a third party and can easily become the Scapegoat when a problem pops up.
Just a few thoughts… if I may…
I just loved this line; “…public ethics forum held last week and attended by public corruption experts…” ~ so… the Biden’s, Clinton’s, Obama’s, Pelosi’s, and Schumer’s were there?…to name a few. But I digress. 😉
As for the recommendations;
(1). Seems kind of humerus to have to “expand” the definition of lobbyist, to include the actual definition of a lobbyist.
(2). If this is not the case now, then what has been the purpose of the IEB to date?
(3). A no brain’r… like the presidential power of EO’s, the no-bid contract provision had a specific purpose governed by specific circumstances and parameters of use. And like the presidential power of EO’s, it has long been abused and misused. Furthermore, NO publicly-owned land should EVER be sold without public notice and the opportunity for public input.
(4). Also a no brain’r… although I take issue with the term “Honest” fraud. Seems a bit oxymoronic.
(5). Given the entire mess, this seems a logical step. But tread lightly… not everyone has malicious intent. A quick but substantive review is in order, but again, be careful not to assume guilt. Presuming the innocent to be guilty is as wrong as declaring the guilty to be innocent.
(6). I’ve always taken issue with the premise that some people should be “held to a higher standard”. It implies that it’s perfectly acceptable for others to operate at a lower standard. Should not all of us hold ourselves and each other to the highest of standards? Is this not the foundation of “equality” that so many lament?
… but a good start none the less… public corruption has to stop sometime; somewhere.
I think these are excellent reforms and hopefully they will be implemented quickly.
Look at all the people that just sat there and did and said nothing, even participated and going along, protecting, and causing great harm to this community.
Until the total corruption is cleaned up and cleaned out our culture will remain the same. That’s why Sue Dick, Vince Long, Reese Goad, Walt McNeil must be replaced and all the City and County Commissioners and mayor, with the exception of Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter must be voted out. Even Jack Campbell needs to be removed from office immediately. Let the voters wake up and the nationwide searches begin.
The Tallahassee Democrat may want to consider replacing the public relations shill to The Usual Suspects, TaMaryn Waters, and hire an investigative reporter.
The above are holdovers who protected Scott Maddox and others… said and did nothing. They went along and they all did great harm and I mean great harm. Jack Campbell should be in prison, also. He is the KING of retaliation and misused his office for prosecutorial misconduct. He makes Scott Maddox and the Durham North Carolina prosecutor who wrongfully prosecuted the Duke athletes look like choir boys. Why didn’t he ever prosecute Scott Maddox? That’s the sixty-four million-dollar question…
It’s not the FSU team that are losers, they are winners, but they are in a town that is so deep in the corruption culture that it reverberates and effects every entity. We ALL suffer for it. Clean it up so the fresh air is able to cleanse, renew, and repair.
I give Jeremy Matlow credit in taking a big step forward, speaking out, and not going along. Very commendable.
“Dark cloud of corruption that had envelope Tallahassee for an entire Era in local government is finally lifting”
There still IS that dark cloud lingering over Tallahassee. Waiting for the other $hit show to start.
Does that mean every salesperson selling copier ink and office supplies needs to register as a lobbyist?