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Ethics Board tackles lobbyist guidelines in Tallahassee

Posted at 6:04 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 06:04:45-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — How should lobbyists work with city leaders?

That's the question a board in Tallahassee is trying to solve.

The city has had a series of ethical issues in the past and has recently been working to make sure it doesn't happen again.

On Tuesday night the Ethics Board spoke about expanding the definition of a lobbyist as well as possible new lobbying guidelines.

All in the spirit of keeping leaders transparent with the public.

Tallahassee's Ethics Board tackling the regulation of lobbyist.

" We need to know who's talking to our commissioners at all times," said Marilynn Wills.

The goal is to give the public more insight on what's going on behind closed doors.

"Record keeping of who is meeting with the city officials whether it be commissioners, appointed officials, city managers," said Ernie Paine.

Another major topic lobbyist registration to make sure there is no unethical communication between an unregistered party.

" All lobbyist should be registered and if they're finding out that people have been lobbying commissioners and haven't really been registered as lobbyist I really don't think that that's a good idea," said Paine.

Incoming Ethics Officer Keith Powell says identifying some lobbyist can be challenging.

"A lot of people who are actually lobbyist don't like to call themselves a lobbyist," said Keith Powell.

The board says they are trying to give clarity on this before it becomes an ethical issue.

"It's a recommendation that at least touches ethical issues that we want to pursue and make sure that the public is aware of and our city leaders are aware of," said Paine

The Ethics board will continue discussion on the issue and will make a recommendation to the city commission.

Since the board cannot change guidelines it is up to the city commission to adopt it or not.