City Ethics Board: No One Should Feel Pressured To Accept Gifts

May 21, 2018

Former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez has been accused of violating gift policies by accepting tickets to an FSU football game.
Credit Erich Martin

A state ethics hearing on former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez is expected early next month. Fernandez has been accused of a number of ethics violations including accepting tickets to an FSU football game. In the meantime, the city ethics board is leaving cases relating to the issue open as the city board awaits the state’s findings.

City board chair Richard Herring says employees accepted tickets from Fernandez. And he says some employees have suggested they feel pressure to accept gifts.

“No one should feel compelled to have to give a gift no one should feel compelled to have to receive a gift and in doing so they should be aware of the appearance that the gift may have to people inside the system where the gift might be perceived as favoritism from a boss to a particular employee within that unit,” Herring says.

Herring says after spending months discussing the city’s policies, he feels clarification on giving and receiving gifts is needed. He wants the board to author a letter on the topic to be discussed at the next city ethics board meeting.