Below are summaries of the “Sharing Ideas” segment of the Tallahassee City Commission meeting on October 25.
The Commissioners discussed several topics, including waiving fees for the 50 Years of Hip Hop Celebration Concert. Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox made a motion to provide services including sanitation services before and after the event, road closures and barricades, marketing assistance and to waive fees for the use of the Anita Favors Plaza at Lake Anita. Additionally, Williams-Cox noted that she knew Rapper T-Pain when he was a child and made a motion to honor T-Pain by putting an honorary marker in the location where he grew up in Tallahassee. The Commission unanimously passed the motion.
Commissioner Williams-Cox explained that FAMU is looking to change the name of their portion of the road “Wahnish Way” to “Althea Gibson Way”. Williams-Cox explained this action will honor former FAMU student Althea Neale Gibson, who was the first black athlete to cross the color line of international tennis and the first African American to win a Grand Slam title. The Commission unanimously passed a motion to provide the necessary support for the re-naming of Wahnish Way.
During the meeting, Commissioner Jeremey Matlow stated he has, “A lot of concerns with the way our City government operates.” He noted that the City Charter prohibits the Commission from dictating any appointment for any officials outside of the City Manager. He expressed he had “very strong feelings” about the removal of HR Director Ellen Blair, and explained that it seemed like she was removed based on “what she put into text”. Matlow made a motion for staff to bring back an information item by the City Manager to explain to the Commission the corrective action that he has taken due to the derogatory messages the Commission witnessed.
Mayor John Daily noted his hesitation to recognize the motion explaining the motion would need to go through the HR process. Commissioner Williams-Cox chimed in on the issue noting there is a process to go through stating, “Our Community expects us to come here and focus on them and not on us… I would rather deal with something of this nature one on one with the individual. Additionally, Commissioner Richardson noted he agreed with Williams-Cox on the matter stating, “We have a process for addressing issues that we have concern with, and I think that the process that’s been in place for years is one we should continue to with.” However, Matlow said that a part of the process was the public meeting and noted he only wanted to exercise the Charter authority. The motion was taken up and failed 3-2.