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Goad, Long, Pingree, Campbell Go On Vacation Together Hours After Stadium Vote

The Intergovernmental Management Committee, made up of County Administrator and City Administrator took a vacation together hours after the Seminole Boosters' vote.

// March 8, 2022,

6:48 am

Updated:March 8, 2022

“The public deserves answers.”

Jack Porter, City Seat 1

Blueprint’s Intergovernmental Management Committee made up of County Administrator Vince Long and City Manager Reese Goad took a “vacation” together to New York City with Intergovernmental Agency Director Ben Pingree less than twelve hours after the final approval of the $27 million dollar Seminole Boosters Stadium deal early Friday morning. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell joined the trio as well. 

None of their spouses or children are known to have attended.

They all declined to discuss the trip, claiming that it was “personal” in nature. They also claim that they didn’t discuss public business with each other while on vacation.

Commissioner Jack Porter took the photo and shared it on Facebook, raising her concerns about the trip.

“In some workplaces, it might be normal to travel for pleasure with your colleagues and direct supervisors,” Porter said in a Monday night Facebook post.

“But when Blueprint’s own Intergovernmental Management Committee (made up of the City Manager and County Administrator) which oversees and controls millions of public dollars, travels together with their only employee (Pingree), we know that this is not how the public’s business should be conducted,” she said.

“The insider culture of decision making within our local government based on personal relationships outside public meetings, rather than on public benefit and in the Sunshine, with meaningful opportunities for public input must stop,” Porter’s Facebook status said.

Via Facebook

Executive Vacation May RAise Sunshine Violation Questions

One of the government decision-making bodies that both Reese Goad and Vince Long belongs to is the Intergovernmental Management Committee (IMC). 

The IMC does not recognize the IMC as being subject to Florida’s Sunshine Law, which defines a “public meeting” under Florida Statute, as “any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision.”

Last year, Our Tallahassee put in a request for all board meeting minutes of the IMC.

“Blueprint staff responded that no minutes are kept of IMC meetings. Therefore, there are no responsive records” a staff member of the City-Treasurer Clerk’s office responded. 

In subsequent requests for a list of upcoming IMC board meetings, Our Tallahassee received another response. 

“The IMC functions as co-administrators to manage the Blueprint Agency and is not a board or commission,” the email said.

 The IMC has not held any meetings, thus no minutes exist. There are no future meetings scheduled,” city records staff said in an email, forwarding the message from Blueprint staff. 

Functioning as “co-administrators” is not a legal term or a legal exemption to Florida’s Sunshine law. The IMC’s interpretation as a non-Sunshine body has not been challenged in court.

Test Description 123 ACF
Test Description 123

PLACE Director Ben Pingree, City Manager Reese Goad and County Administrator Vince Long talk during Seminole Boosters vote before their NYC Vacation.

The most critical role of the IMC is the hiring and firing of the PLACE Director Ben Pingree. One member of the IMC can fire the Director, while it requires a consensus of both members — the city manager and the county administrator to hire the PLACE Director. 

Pingree’s role is defined in the interlocal agreement, the governing document of the Intergovernmental Agency. It says that Pingree shall “develop policies and procedures for the administration of Blueprint with regard to Blueprint 2000 projects, Blueprint 2020 Infrastructure Projects, Blueprint 2020 Economic Development Programs, and OEV programs.”

On the duties of oversight by the IMC, The interlocal agreement reads “The County Administrator and the City Manager, or their designee(s), shall direct the performance of the Director of PLACE and shall jointly evaluate that performance at least annually.”

The intergovernmental management committee (IMC) is often cited in agenda items, vaguely stating that the IMC “approved” or “recommended” a decision that is either within their vaguely defined purchasing scope or that the IMC recommended a decision that is before the IA Board.

The Florida Sunshine Manual addresses the concept of staff bodies which delegate the authority of elected officials, saying below:

Delegation of authority to an individual to act on behalf of the board 

“The Sunshine Law does not provide for any ‘government by delegation’ exception; a public body cannot escape the application of the Sunshine Law by undertaking to delegate the conduct of public business through an alter ego.” 

“When public officials delegate de facto authority to act on their behalf in the formulation, preparation, and promulgation of plans on which foreseeable action will be taken by those public officials, those delegated that authority stand in the shoes of such public officials insofar as the Sunshine Law is concerned”

IDS Properties, Inc. v. Town of Palm Beach, 279 So. 2d 353, 359 (Fla. 4th DCA 1973), certified question answered sub nom., Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974). See also News-Press Publishing Company, Inc. v. Carlson, 410 So. 2d 546, 547-548 (Fla. 2d DCA 1982)

Hours Before Executive Vacation, Porter Made Motion for Public Control of Blueprint agency

Less than twelve hours before take-off, at the Blueprint meeting, Commissioners voted 12-0 after more than twenty minutes of discussion to bring back an item that would consider taking public control and oversight of the hiring and firing of Pingree’s position, the Intergovernmental Agency Director’s job. The IMC, which is the City Manager and County Administrator, currently hires and fires Pingree’s role.

Porter’s motion was consistent with a September Facebook post she made expressing concern about the future of the Blueprint agency’s direction while operating outside public control.

Via Facebook

PORTER: GOAD “SAW NOTHING WRONG” with Trip

Our Tallahassee submitted several public records requests related to the trip, including the public calendars of Campbell, Long, Goad, and Pingree. Vince Long’s calendar shows no work meetings for the period, listing a simple “Out of office.” Pingree’s calendar shows a “personal leave” for Monday but not for Friday. The City of Tallahassee hasn’t yet replied to a request for Goad’s calendar.

Porter says she spoke to City Manager Goad on Monday evening.

“I called the City Manager and shared my concerns with him about the appearance of conflicts arising from that,” Porter wrote.

“He saw nothing wrong and refused to discuss any details of the trip or whether public business was discussed,” Porter wrote.

Ben Wilcox of the Citizens for Ethics Reform commented to the Democrat “If they were traveling together, it strains credulity to think they weren’t talking about public business,” Wilcox said.

“And the more evasive they are about what was actually going on, that causes the public to lose confidence in their government.”

 

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February 24th, 2022

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6 Responses

  1. Unless this was the “Annual Buffoon” convention and they paid for it out of their own pockets questions need to be answered…

    1) Who paid for the trip?
    A) Steve Ghazvini
    B) Seminole Boosters
    C) Their taxpayer-funded slush fund accounts
    D) Other

    2) Did they pay for this trip themselves?
    3) Who paid for the airline tickets?
    4) What reason were they traveling together?
    5) Did they attend the play Hamilton?

    If this was above board they should have no problem divulging their destination, reason for the trip, the event(s) they were attending, how the trip was paid for, did they pay for the trip themselves, if not, who paid for the trip, hotel, meals, etc?

    Jack Porter needs to be awarded an honorary investigative reporter award.

    There needs to be a rush order for a public records request for their taxpayer funded credit cards.

  2. What reason could they possibly have for this trip that can’t be publically discussed? This is a huge red flag. Jack Porter is right- the public deserves answers.
    Insider politics run this city. It’s worse than ever. It’s time for new leadership.

  3. When will this obscenity called local Tallahassee government end? And why have black people gotten beaten, shot and lynched while trying to vote when black elected officials such as Curtis Richardson, and others routinely sell us out. While children go hungry, while black infant mortality is off the charts, while childhood poverty in some Tallahassee census tracts has exceeded 80 percent, Dianne Williams-Cox, Curtis Richardson, Bill Proctor, Carolyn Cummings, and Nick Maddox vote to hand over $ 27 million to FSU for a football stadium at a university that despises black people and admires only those blacks who make money for them. While 77.3 percent of the FSU tenured faculty is white, and 14.7 percent is Asian, only 4.7 percent is black as of Fall, 2020. In the words of Marvin Gaye, “It makes me want to holler.”

    1. Curtis Richardson, Diane Williams Cox, Bill Proctor, Nick Maddox, and Carolyn Cummings are unable to discern the political greed and lack of humanity by John Dailey, Sue Dick, Jack Campbell, and Reese Goad. They are in invisible chains on the plantation and choose the path of political contributions over humanity.

      The light at the end of this tunnel is that none of them will be re-elected.

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