Tallahassee Voters Approve Ethics Amendment

Nov 4, 2014

Citizens for Ethics Reform Co-chair Marilynn Wills celebrates the Tallahassee amendment's passage Tuesday night at Level 8.
Credit Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

With two-thirds in support, Tallahassee voters have approved an amendment beefing up the city’s ethics program. The measure creates an independent ethics officer position just a month after the city hired an ethics officer who answers to the city attorney.

At the advice of a city ethics committee, Tallahassee Attorney Lew Shelley hired ethics officer Julie Meadows-Keefe in October. But now the bipartisan Citizens for Ethics Reform has successfully pushed the amendment, which requires the ethics officer to report instead to a volunteer panel. Coalition co-chair Marilynn Wills says the city will have to deal with the logistics.

“I think certainly she’s going to continue in that position until this whole amendment is implemented, and as I said, she could interview for the job, and maybe she would be the one they chose," Wills said Tuesday night. 

The amendment also caps campaign contributions to city candidates at $250. And it creates a refund program giving political campaign donors a refund from the city if they request one. That part was a point of contention for the city attorney, who argued the cost to taxpayers was unknown.