City officials facing backlash over police department spending
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Several people stood before the Tallahassee city commission at their meeting on Wednesday to voice concerns over increased spending to the police department.
“We are continuously giving money to a police department that since Lawrence Revell became chief three people have been murdered,” said Regina Joseph, a member of the Tallahassee Community Action Committee.
Delilah Pierre spoke before the city commission and said there is a problem with the $62.3 million being spent on the police department as well as portions of the budget being used for drastic pay increase to city staff, and executive staff while other priorities seem to be ignored.
“There’s a record low amount of money for sidewalks, for roads in Tallahassee, we’re not supporting affordable housing which has been a huge problem since the pandemic,” Pierre said.
Pierre also took issue with the funding after the Tallahassee Police Department conducted a training with the accused war criminal Eddie Gallagher, who was found guilty of posing for a photo with a dead captive in Iraq while serving as a Navy special operations chief.
Pierre called out Mayor John Dailey and City Manager Reese Goad, who is in charge of drafting the budget, during her time she was recognized by the commission.
“You might not care what we have to say but just letting you know that there’s a storm coming,” Pierre said. “(Goad) is the original person who drafts that and he doesn’t do it based on working people’s interests or the interests of the majority of our community, he drafts the budget based on his friends,”
Dailey added that Gallagher was never contracted through the city with TPD. We reached out to TPD in response to the comments made at the meeting but have not heard back.
The overall $178 million operating budget was approved by a three to two vote by the commission. Commissioner Jeremy Matlow was not in attendance and Commissioner Jack Porter was the only ‘no’ on the panel.
“There are a lot more things that we can do to make the link between public comment and their needs more direct with our priorities,” Porter said.
The spending plan puts $10.4 million into street maintenance, $6.7 million into community beautification and waste management and $26 million into parks and recreation.
Mayor John Dailey defended the city manager, who by the nature of his position through the charter of Tallahassee is responsible fore drafting the budget for Dailey and the rest of the commission to decide on.
“Over the course of nine months myself and the city commission have talked over the budget and at any point any commissioner and myself has the ability to address any aspect of the city budget,” Dailey said when asked about Porter’s ‘no’ vote on the budget. “I’m glad we were able to carry it across the finish line.”
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