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Get to Know the Ballot: Ethics Referendum

2014 Leon County Sample Ballot
Posted at 2:26 AM, Oct 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-09 10:09:40-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- This Election, not only are here are major races in both Florida and Georgia, but also important issues you can vote on.

In Tallahassee, that includes a referendum the Citizens for Ethics Reform pushed through.

On September 30, a Tallahassee police officer tased a 62-year old woman in the street -- and it was all caught on camera.

Since then, dozens have been speaking out, demanding action... and come Election Day, voters can truly make their voices heard.

In Tallahassee, the ballot includes a referendum to create a new city amendment. If passed, it'll create a newly appointed ethics officer and board.  

"It's a bigger step to more independence and assuring their body is clear of any conflict of interest when they go through issues," explained WTXL political contributor Trimmel Gomes.

The seven-person panel would be made up of five picks from local interests, like FAMU, FSU and Leon County judges. Those five would then chose the remaining two members of the board.

This ballot initiative is separate from the new position the city adopted earlier this year. In September, Julie Meadows-Keefe became Tallahassee's first city ethics officer.

     

"We are committed within the city of Tallahassee to ethics. that we hold everybody to the highest ethical standards and we want to engage with citizens about their concerns and respond to them," Meadows-Keefe told WTXL in October.

WTXL political contributor Trimmel Gomes says while creating that role is a step in the right direction, it might not be enough.

She is in fact an employee of the city and can be fired - and was hired - by the city attorney and city auditor," he said. "They [the potential board] don't have to worry about that potential conflict of interest. Whereas, can Julie Meadows-Keefe really investigate her boss through city issues?"

We're continuing to take a closer look at the major races and issues impacting local voters as we near Election Day. Tune in every say on the News at 6 for more.