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Florida Commission on Ethics to Rule on Tallahassee City Manager Ethics Case on Friday

The Florida Commission on Ethics will hold a probable cause hearing Friday after a year-long investigation into the allegations against Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad.

// June 1, 2022,

12:32 pm

Updated:June 1, 2022

Mayor John Dailey, left, and City Manager Reese Goad, right. Dailey has defended Goad throughout the allegations of misuse of position. | September 2021, Our Tallahassee
Fire Chief Jerome Gaines stands before the City Commission in September, several months after the Ethics Complaint became public. Gaines shared with Davis what he allegedly thought was a threat from City Manager Reese Goad. | September 2021, Our Tallahassee
Deputy City Manager Cynthia Barber talks to the community gathered at the Tallahassee Senior Center. Barber was interviewed by investigators, who sought to corroborate the allegations by the union. | January, 2022, Our Tallahassee
Tallahassee Professional Firefighter President Joey Davis, who filed the ethics complaint against City Hall's top executive says his job was threatened after pursuing public records. | April 2021, Our Tallahassee

On May 21st, 2021 Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad allegedly threatened  Fire Chief Jerome Gaines and Joey Davis, the Tallahassee Professional Firefighter’s President. Goad’s alleged threat, the union says, was in response to the union’s repeated public records requests. Goad’s phone call would set off a chain reaction between the 4th floor Executives at City Hall and fire stations across the city. Joey Davis, the President of their union, formally filed an ethics complaint just a few weeks later.

A year later, the Florida Commission on Ethics will meet Friday to determine if Tallahassee’s highest-paid executive broke the law. Investigators moving the case against Goad to the probable cause hearing step of the process indicates that they have determined that the allegations outlined in the complaint against Goad, if proven, would constitute a violation of Florida Statute. 

The union says they were filing the public records requests lawfully and providing oversight to the Fire Services Fund. 

They contend that Goad’s conversation with the head of the Department, Fire Chief Jerome Gaines constituted a misuse of public position and interfered with their right to access public records under Florida’s Sunshine law.

“He [Reese Goad] has misused his public position by directing my department head to convey a threat, ordering me to cease acting within my lawful right under FS 119.07 to request access to public records,” Davis wrote in the complaint. “He [Jerome Gaines] stated that the City Manager had directed him to “bring me in and tell (me) to stand down,” Davis said.

City Manager Reese Goad, left, and City Attorney Cassandra Jackson, who the union says was asked by Goad not to attend a meeting between the city and the collective bargaining unit. | September 2021, Our Tallahassee

“The City Manager stated that if I did not back off it ‘would not be good for anyone,” the complaint alleges. That threat, the union says, followed a private meeting request between the city’s top executive and the union where the manager allegedly told City Attorney Cassandra Jackson not to attend the planned meeting.

In a release Thursday afternoon, the Tallahassee Professional Firefighters announced a media availability following the closed-door meeting of the Florida Commission on Ethics hearing for Goad, where they will meet to determine probable cause. 

Defendants in this case already know the private findings of investigators at the Commission on Ethics, and Goad’s lawyer will likely argue before the Commission why the findings of the investigators should be rejected if the investigators found probable cause that Goad violated the law.

Mayor John Dailey and City Commissioners Dianne Williams-Cox and Curtis Richardson have stood by the City Manager throughout the allegations against him. Seven months after the complaint was filed against Goad, Dailey called Goad “the best city manager in the United States.”

Goad’s predecessor, who worked side-by-side with Goad throughout his career, former City Manager Rick Fernandez resigned his post in part because of a pending ethics complaint, after being caught lying about soliciting Florida State University skybox tickets from a city lobbyist.

Goad’s probable cause hearing will be held on Friday, June 3rd, at 10 AM in the third floor courtroom of the 1st District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Drive, but is closed to the public. Davis and the union will offer comments to the press at the conclusion of the hearing.

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2 Responses

  1. “Mayor John Dailey and City Commissioners Dianne Williams-Cox and Curtis Richardson have stood by the City Manager throughout the allegations against him. Seven months after the complaint was filed against Goad, Dailey called Goad “the best city manager in the United States.”

    Mayor Dailey may want to rethink that statement as sewage treatment is failing all over the city under Goad’s watch. Water treatment Infrastructure is failing before our eyes.

    This is why we need to do a nationwide search for a city manager as Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter have asked for.

    It’s getting to the point where the situation is dire and we will be looking at a public health issue soon if something doesn’t change.

  2. Two questions:
    1> Why thehell did it take a YEAR to get this done. It is cut & Dry from what I see.

    2> WHAT public records does Reese Goad NOT want them to have access too?

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