Dr. Erwin Jackson Continues the Push for Ethics Reform

Dr. Erwin Jackson Continues the Push for Ethics Reform

In the wake of the prison sentences handed down by federal judge Robert Hinkle to former City Commissioner Scott Maddox, his business associate Paige Carter-Smith, and Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette, Dr. Erwin Jackson continues to push for ethics reform at Tallahassee City Hall.

Jackson, known for his 3-minute presentations over the last ten years, recently took a hiatus from appearing before the city commission as the wheels of justice slowed and then ground to a halt during the COVID pandemic.

But now he is back – still pushing for ethics reform.

Jackson is asking the Tallahassee City Commission to make sure that those people that incriminated themselves while testifying in the federal corruption probe not be allowed to appear before the city commission or compete for city contracts.

Jackson uses former Maddox associate Gary Yordon as an example.

Jackson said, “we cannot allow Gary Yordon to continue to appear before the city commission as a lobbyist after he admitted under oath that he was part of the Maddox corruption scheme.”

Jackson also wants a rule or ordinance regulating public relations groups that work on local campaigns and then vie for local contracts.

“There is no way a campaign consultant should be able to secure local contracts and appear before the people they helped get elected,” said Jackson.

Some argue Jackson is taking a victory lap after enduring years of harsh criticism and much skepticism from the Tallahassee power elite. At one point, City Commissioner Scott Maddox publicly questioned Jackson’s mental health during the ongoing saga.

But there is more to these recent appearances than just vindication.

Armed with guilty pleas, a conviction, and public testimony which shed light on the back room deals, Jackson’s arguments for reform are receiving more consideration by elected leaders.

Mayor John Daily has made it a point to acknowledge that his campaign consultants are no longer vendors for the Tallahassee. In addition, the city has provided legal research on their ability to bar city vendors based on criminal or unethical behavior.

Jackson Knew City was Corrupt

Before the first FBI subpoena – related to this recent federal corruption probe – hit city hall, Jackson knew many city officials were corrupt.

Jackson said, “the level of corrupt and unethical behavior was mind boggling.”

In 2008 Jackson exposed the corrupt FSU biomass deal linked to former city commissioner Alan Katz. The deal was eventually killed.

Jackson repeatedly shamed the city commission over the 2006 deferred compensation plan that was nothing but a money grab for elected officials.

The plan was eventually repealed.

And then there was former Tallahassee Mayor John Marks.

Before Scott Maddox became the target of Jackson’s work, John Marks provided the ammunition for comments that cut through the monotony of the city commission meetings.

And Marks provided a lot of ammunition.

Jackson hit Marks on his connection to the biomass deal, the deferred compensation, the use of a city credit card, the Alliance for Digital Equaity debacle, and the infamous Honeywell arrangement.

Then there was the kill watch – a blatant attempt to quiet the “truth teller.” It failed.

The live videos of Jackson lecturing Marks and other city commissioners during regular meetings became must watch TV for local government aficionados.

Then the FBI subpoenas hit, followed by indictments and prison sentences.

While Jackson believes the corruption could of been avoided if the Tallahassee Democrat had done their job – the paper endorsed Maddox despite a record of shady deals – or if some politicians would have provided some resistance, he knows the rules need to be changed.

But when?

Jackson is frustrated by the lack of action by elected officials, but he continues to push his message.

City officials have scheduled a workshop in the first quarter of next year to address some of Jackson’s issues.

Jackson, recently told the city commission, ” I am 71, I don’t have ten more years to wait for these changes.”

14 Responses to "Dr. Erwin Jackson Continues the Push for Ethics Reform"

  1. @ Edward,

    I believe they should Implement a political science course in all universities entitled The Erwin Jackson Course On Exposing Government Corruption. For every University that implements this course Dr Jackson should be given an honorary degree at that University.

    Perhaps Governor DeSantis could tap Dr. Jackson to have him investigate Hunter Biden, the Chinese Bioweapon Scamdemic, voter fraud, the Brandon Administration, the Afghanistan withdrawal , and the bogus insurrection.

  2. People like Dr. Jackson are essential to the public good of local government. Corrupt politicians and their like-minded media dismiss these folks by labeling them “gadflies”. Local gadflies are an important spoke in the wheel of public trust. They often have the time and resources to pay close attention and read between the lines to find the so-called “devil in the details”. Indeed there are some local gadflies who are, shall we say… a few fries short of a happy meal… but that is not the case with Dr. Jackson. There should be a street or park here in Tallahassee named after him.

    What’s even more important than a functioning local government, is a wise and attentive local gadfly (and honest 4th estate) keeping an eye on them and The People’s business.

  3. @Publius — Several people “declined” to return the deferred comp monies that were given to them. I believe that Lightsey was in that group.

    If their were ethics at the top, returning the money wouldn’t have been a request.

  4. Harry Brown, Dr. Erwin Jackson, Steve Stewart, Bill Schack, Tommy Mills, Altamese Barnes, the Veterans/Active duty, the men and women in blue and green, first responders, Publix employees, doctors and nurses and other medical personnel, the thousands of volunteers in the community through churches and civic organizations who step-up and make this community a better place are very much appreciated… Thank you to you all for all you do!

  5. Hmmmm what was that go along to get along ethics officers name who was scrumping some fellow employee while agreeing that nothing being done by the local government she was charged to oversee was unethical? Wasn’t she the same one the City allowed to stay on and continue doing nothing so she would be eligible for retirement payments?
    Chances are real good any ethics reform will follow the time honored path and methods laid out by our good old girl Meadows-Keith.

  6. The Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and the Tallahassee Democrat provided Gary Yordon legitimacy. The failure to discern and choosing to use him has had devastating consequences for Tallahassee.

    And then there is the CRA decision to give J.T. Burnette money for the Doubletree. CRA funds are to be used to improve impoverished areas. That area is one of the most viable areas in Tallahassee and only 25 steps away from the Governors Club and the law firm of Barry Richards. How anyone involved in that CRA decision is not in prison is a travesty.

    The Mayor misusing City resources for TV campaign ads is another travesty and people do nothing and let it go on and on and on. It is blatant theft.

    And here is the most recent one… Their new pick for the CSC was a Gillum employee. She advocated for and was paid by the Gillum campaign… by someone involved in immoral and corruptive activities. She failed to discern Gillum’s corruption and immorality. This is a proper pick to be over a children’s endeavor at the taxpayers expense? No thought whatsoever for the children… None whatsoever and that is very sad. Someone who can discern and not go along with corruption and immorality would be a better pick.

  7. Is this news from 2010? Seems like deja vu all over again…only this time around they’re a little slicker, not likely to be fooled by a clown named “White Snake” again.

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