Tallahassee Democrat by Jeffrey Schweers
November 8, 2017
The City Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to grant City Manager Rick Fernandez a paid administrative leave of absence but will revisit the decision at its Dec. 6 meeting.
The board also unanimously approved the appointment of Deputy City Manager Reese Goad as interim city manager.
Fernandez took a voluntary paid administrative leave of absence last week pending the outcome of a state ethics investigation into his acceptance of Florida State University football tickets from a lobbyist.
Based on his annual salary, Fernandez will continue to collect nearly $20,000 a month and continue to receive other benefits.
Fernandez stepped aside after receiving an email from Commissioner Gil Ziffer on Oct. 28 asking that an item be put on today’s agenda to discuss Fernandez’s suspension until the Florida Commission on Ethics presents its ruling on his case.
After getting the email, Fernandez decided to step aside voluntarily so as to not be a distraction for the city.
“I fully trust the process underway by the Ethics Commission and remain thankful for the opportunity to serve our community,” Fernandez said. “I will again reiterate to you that any action by me as City Manager has and will always be to provide the highest level of service to our community.”
Fernandez deleted a string of text messages from his cell phone where he asked a lobbyist for pricey football tickets to an FSU home game.
There was little discussion before commissioners approved Fernandez’s leave. [READ MORE]