November 5, 2014
By: Jennie Gutierrez
On Tuesday, 67 percent of Tallahassee voters approved an ethics and anti-corruption code for city commissioners.
The new amendment will require the city to form an ethics board, made of seven non-government workers, to over see city commissioners and to appoint an independent ethics officer.
In addition, the code puts a $250 cap on campaign contributions for city commissioners.
City spokesperson Michelle Bono said that Tallahassee is now an example for the rest of the country.
"It's important to know we have a history of being ethical, we're going to continue that, and we are going to follow this referendum that was approved by to the voters just to make that even stronger than its been in the past," Bono said.
The ethics referendum also calls for all registered voters to be reimbursed for campaign contributions towards city commissioners up to $25, a price that will likely come from tax payers' pockets.
Dan Krassner, spokesperson for the group Citizens for Ethics Reform, which pushed for the passing of the charter amendment, said that's a small price to pay for a corruption-free city.
"Every Floridian pays $1,300 out of our pockets for corruption in our government. We know that the waste and the fraud and the abuse is there so investing in an independent watchdog and ethics board will help save us money in the long run," Krassner said.
The city commission has six months to write up the new ethics code.
Recommendations on how to move forward with the ethics referendum will be discussed at the next city commission meeting, which is next Wednesday, November 12.