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Tallahassee Ethics Board tackles lobbyist guidelines

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 17:18:53-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Ethics are continuing to be a big conversation in Tallahassee.

Now, there's some concern when it comes to the relationship between city leaders and lobbyists.

The Board is looking to come up with specific guidelines for city officials to follow when they're meeting with a lobbyist.

The guidelines include having more transparency about when those meetings happen along with making what was discussed available quickly for the public to view. It will also force lobbyists to be more transparent about who they are.

The city has a history of ethics issues.

The previous city manager resigned after accepting a gift. Then former city commissioner Scott Maddox pleaded guilty to wire and mail fraud after and FBI probe.

The current Ethics Boards says the need for stronger reform is great.

"We're thankful for a robust ethics ordinance," said Bryan Smith, who's on Tallahassee's Independent Ethics Board. "It allows us to do what we think the citizens of the community really want us to do. As far as lobbying, we have things to talk about and we'll build upon and see where it goes from there."

The board will also talk about replacing the current City Ethics Officer Julie Meadows-Keefe. Meadows-Keefe resigned over the summer.