Tallahassee City Commissioners sued over vacancies on Code Enforcement Board

Plaintiff alleges city didn’t follow state law by failing to fill empty seats
City commissioners sued over enforcement board vacancies
Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 6:31 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Tallahassee City Commission has been taken to court by a man alleging commissioners have violated state law for failing to fill vacancies on the city’s Code Enforcement Board.

The complaint, filed in Leon County Circuit Court last week, asks the Court to demand commissioners fill empty seats on the board or explain why those actions haven’t been taken.

Nicholas Warren told WCTV he applied for an open seat on the board in July 2021. He said that the seat still has not been filled by anyone.

Warren said three more seats opened up as of June 1 of this year, meaning the board may not have enough members to form a quorum.

“State statute says that when there’s a vacancy, the city commission shall fill the appointment,” Warren said. “Shall isn’t permissive, it’s not voluntary. And I think two years is more than enough time for the city to recruit eligible candidates, review their applications and fill the seat”

In response to the complaint, a circuit judge issued a motion ordering the commission to respond within 60 days.

In an email to WCTV Tuesday, City Attorney Cassandra Jackson said the city had not been served with the lawsuit, and “thus, my office is not actively defending this case.”

Jackson did share with WCTV that “the City is always eager to have citizens, who meet the particular board or committee’s qualifications, serve on its volunteer boards and committees when vacancies arise.”

Mayor John Dailey’s office told Eyewitness News the mayor would not comment on pending litigation. Commissioner Curtis Richardson shared a similar response.

WCTV is awaiting responses from the rest of the city commission.

According to the City’s website, the Code Enforcement Board is a “volunteer board of residents with relevant professional experiences [that] hears cases for numerous City codes, but mostly major structural, permitting, and zoning violation codes.”

The website indicated four of the seven seats were filled, meaning the board may have enough members to form a quorum.

Jackson said the last meeting of the group was May 11. The city website indicated the board had a scheduled meeting for Tuesday, but it’s unclear if that was still scheduled to move forward.

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