Tallahassee mayoral candidate filed ethics complaint against several city officials

Tallahassee mayoral candidate filed an ethics complaint
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:39 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:49 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - One of the candidates for mayor of Tallahassee is filing an ethics complaint against several high-ranking city officials.

Whitfield Leland said he filed an ethics complaint against neighborhood association supervisor John Baker, his immediate supervisor Ashley Edwards, Cynthia Barber, Reese Goad and Mayor John Dailey.

“I filed the ethics complaint because we received an email saying that John Baker stated that his managers, plural, advised the Frenchtown CAT team to not move forward with me for a potential conflict of interest,” Leland said.

Leland said he was picked to sit on the Frenchtown Community Action Team, a grant review team for the Frenchtown board for small business grants. However, Leland said the city claims that Leland cannot sit on the review board and also run for mayor.

Leland said once he received the complaint he forwarded it to City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, who forwarded it to the city attorney but Leland claims after that he was never contacted.

“There’s nowhere in the policy that if you’re running for office that you cannot participate in community engagement as far as CAT teams, neighborhood revitalization plans,” Leland said.

Leland said he has emails from his time applying for the review team that had no such stipulations.

“Reese Goad, the mayor, John Baker or Ashley Edwards should play no role in who the citizens pick to participate in their programs,” Leland said.

Leland said he was selected by citizens to sit on the CAT team, which was reviewed by the CAT team itself.

“There’s no reason why me being a citizen, a community leader, an activist, an advocate and just because my name is in the hat for the mayor’s race, what does that have to do with me sitting on the grant review team,” Leland said. “It has no difference in sitting on another board.”

Leland said he reached out about the specific conflict of interest it would raise.

“If the citizens want it, this is their community, let them have it,” Leland said. “I don’t cut any checks, I’m just reviewing to make sure that everybody’s criteria is the same.”

WCTV reached out to the city for comment and is waiting to hear back.

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