January 10, 2013 - Since last November, the City of Tallahassee Ethics Advisory Panel has been meeting and Thursday night, they held a town hall discussion where the public had the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns regarding ethics in government. Dr. Erwin Jackson was one of the citizens that attended the meeting and states “I have a Ph.D. in Psychology. It only took me 3 years to get my doctorate. I've spent 4 and a half years dealing with ethics in City Hall." He came prepared with printed hand-outs and visual aides. He admits “all I want as a citizen, is when an elected official should not use their position for their personal financial gain."
The recent ethics case against Mayor John Marks was just one of many topics that came up for discussion at the meeting, and although the administrative law judge has recommended the case against Mayor Marks be dropped, ultimately the Ethics Commission will make that decision at a meeting later this month. City of Tallahassee Ethics Advisory Panel Chair, Martha Barnett says "I think it's a good idea for a community periodically to review all of it's practices and procedures to make sure they've kept pace with what's going on in the community, the growth of the community, the changing demographics, technology, social media, All of those things can impact the community and the elected officials."
Citizens attending the meeting were encouraged to provide feedback on three specific topics. The first topic is to take a look at the city's overall history in regard to ethics. The second is to give feedback on potentially naming an ethics officer to serve as a resource for employees and citizens, and the possible need for an ethics clearing house and the last topic, the best practices when it comes to ethics for the committee explore. Barnett says, "we want to hear from them about what they think is right what they think is good and if they have problems or areas that they need improvement, we want to know that."
If you were not able to attend the meeting, you can submit comments to the panel via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can mail in your comments to:
City of Tallahassee Ethics Panel
Attn: Treasurer-Clerk / Records
300 S. Adams Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301