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City Of Tallahassee Hires Ethics Officer

Tallahassee ethics officer Julie Meadows-Keefe is under increasing pressure to resign. Her attorney is demanding a public apology.

There’s a new ethics officer in town and her name is Julie Meadows-Keefe. The Tallahassee City Commission appointed Meadows-Keefe to the job Wednesday, but what she will do if voters adopt an ethics amendment in November, is unclear.

Meadows-Keefe says in her new job she’ll help to ensure citizens that ethics codes are being followed.

“I feel that this role is to help the city government and the public to know and understand their state and local ethics laws, their rules and their policies, so ethical violations can be avoided,” Meadows-Keefe says.

However, an amendment on the city's November ballot would establish a separate ethics office, consisting of a supervisor position and an ethics board funded by the city commission. A group called Citizen’s for Ethics Reform pushed for the amendment, despite the city commission’s approval of the ethics officer position earlier this year. Meadows-Keefe says, right now, she’s not concerned with the potential overlap of her job and the office.

“I kind of am clear about what it is I’m supposed to be doing, and that is to let the public know that the city values and emphasizes and stresses and insists upon ethical behavior,” Meadows-Keefe says.

City commissioner Gil Ziffer has said if the amendment passes the new ethics office will decide what responsibilities Meadows-Keefe’s position will hold.