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Firefighters union president files ethics complaint against Tallahassee city manager

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 3:48 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The president of the Tallahassee Professional Firefighters union has filed an ethics complaint against Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad.

Joey Davis — a lieutenant paramedic and 11-year veteran of the Tallahassee Fire Department — filed the complaint with Florida’s Commission on Ethics on Wednesday.

Davis claims Goad used “bully tactics” and told fire department supervisors if Davis didn’t back off his request for copies of city records, it “would not be good for anyone.”

WCTV has reached out to the city manager and the city’s communications director for comment.

The ethics complaint says soon after Goad proposed a $1 million cut to the TFD budget, Davis made a public records request for documents pertaining to the city’s Fire Services Fee.

Davis says he filed that request on April 19 and filed a second request a month later on May 21.

Davis’s complaint contends within days, he was called in for a meeting with Fire Chief Jerome Gaines, Deputy Chief Eugene Sanders and Battalion Chief Byron Meadows. The complaint claims “the City Manager had directed (the chief) to “bring me in and tell (me) to stand down.”

Davis added that the city manager told him if he did not back off it “would not be good for anyone.”

Davis claims that since then Goad has reached out to meet with him but “was adamant that there would be no attorneys allowed nor recording of the meeting.”

According to Davis, concerns were raised more than ten years ago by TFD that the assessments were not sustainable, and that services were going to be pinched. At the time, the department also identified the need for several more fire stations. One of those is on Lake Bradford Road and now under construction.

“It’s great that they’re working on that now, but the problem is that’s going to be one of the busiest stations in the city the day that it opens” Davis said. “If it’s going to be one of the busiest stations it was a need a long time ago. And those people on the south side, citizens that pay their fire assessment, aren’t getting the same level of service that other people are. "

The union president says this about making sure they are protecting both the firefighters and the people of Tallahassee.

“At the bottom of all of it, we are responsible for the taxpayers and the citizens of the city and county that we provide services to,” Davis said. “If we feel that we are not able to provide the level of service that they’ve paid for, there’s a problem with that.”

The complaint now awaits further investigation by Florida’s Commission on Ethics.

WCTV has requested an interview or a statement from the City of Tallahassee.

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