News Briefs from Final Charter Review Committee Meetings

News Briefs from Final Charter Review Committee Meetings

Provided below are the meeting briefs from the final two Tallahassee Charter Review Committee meetings.

On February 29th, the CRC held a meeting and discussed several options for the City Commissioners’ pay.

The Committee continued debating regarding the City Commission pay increase. To assist the discussion, staff provided the Committee with compensation models/methodologies to review and hopefully vote on. In the previous meeting, the Committee voted in favor of potentially increasing the City Commissions pay. However, after much back and forth, the Committee could not agree on a set way to do so.

CRC Member Jared Willis (who argued strongly against putting any salary model in the City Charter) commented that he didn’t feel that the Charter was the best place to decide the Commissioners’ pay stating, “I’d like to see some language where we basically say we task the City Commission through ordinance with crafting a salary formula.” He continued, “I think we could have a mandate in the Charter that basically says by January 1st 2025, City Commission is tasked with creating the formula to calculate salaries based off some combination of population COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) CPI (consumer price index) and medium family income.”

After further discussion, CRC Member Burga Demirel made a motion to bring back sample ballot language for Compensation Models A-F. The motion passed with Mark Mustain and Howard Kessler in dissent. 

Additionally, three members provided presentations regarding their proposals for the Charter, including Ernie Paine who proposed to expand the duties of the Independent Ethics Board (IEB). He proposed extending the investigative authority of the IEB for whistleblower complaints outside of the Inspector General jurisdiction, and to expand the IEB jurisdiction to the City Commission serving on board of joint agencies, such as Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency and the Community Redevelopment Agency. The Committee decided to bring back additional information on duties of the IEB for the next meeting.

CRC Member Bruce Strouble provided a presentation for amending section 136 of the City Charter to support the reclassification of the position of the Chief of Police to that of an Appointment Official.

Lastly, Jared Willis provided a presentation for redistricting and establishing single member districts within the current number of electors.

After listening to the presentations, the Committee decided to bring back additional information on each proposal to the next meeting.

Final CRC Meeting

On March 7th, the Tallahassee City Charter Review Committee (CRC) tied up loose ends at their final meeting.

After months of debating, the Committee decided to let the City Commissioners set their own salaries. The approved compensation policy will allow for the City Commission to establish a compensation study committee who (if approved by voters) would bring back a recommendation to the Commission who could then enact that recommendation by ordinance. Citizens will not be able to weigh in on what the actual salaries would be on the ballot. However, if the City Commission were to approve the recommendation by the compensation study, citizens would have an opportunity to speak during the public hearing.

The CRC also approved a Charter amendment to authorize the Independent Ethics Board (IEB) as an appropriate local official to receive and investigate whistleblower complaints. This amendment gives the IEB authority to investigate complaints on Commissioners while serving on Boards such as the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency. Ernie Paine, who made the motion stated, “The perception of corruption leads to loss of trust and the only way we can restore trust in city government is through transparency and accountability.”

CRC Member Jared Willis withdrew his proposal to move to single member districts, noting he didn’t think the community was ready for the conversation stating, “We’re in a position in this community where we are not able to have big conversations because we are so divided and we have so much distrust for each other that we can’t be productive.” Willis also expressed his disappointment with the Committee and how the public has engaged with the Committee stating, “I think we’ve done some good work. We’ve had some good discussion, but there is a cloud over this community that is just frustrating.”

Additionally, CRC Member Bruce Strouble withdrew his proposal to change police chief management as well. Strouble shared his thoughts on the whole process stating, “We have distrust for a reason. It’s because of actions that have been taken. People feel violated. People feel that they haven’t been heard, and that’s why I think we did a good job in bringing in public opinion here.”

4 Responses to "News Briefs from Final Charter Review Committee Meetings"

  1. Wow… they made a complete mockery of this very important process. Of all the important changes and improvements that could have been discussed and possibly made, the biggest takeaway was allowing politicians to give themselves a raise.

    Truly sad… and embarrassing

  2. These mother frockers have to go! Now they want to set their own salary, they work for us, we should be setting their salary! The nerve of those nare do well son of a guns… every one of them needs to be fired!

  3. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. What Public employee gets to set their own salary?! SMH! All these “Committees” are just a waste of taxpayer dollars.
    Just another reason Tallahassee looks foolish with the current leadership.

  4. “After months of debating, the Committee decided to let the City Commissioners set their own salaries.” …………………………. Gee, what could go wrong with THIS Plan?

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