Tallahassee Democrat by Jeffrey Schweers
November 8, 2017
The Tallahassee City Commission voted 4-1 Wednesday to make available for free all public records the city has provided to a federal grand jury in connection with an ongoing public corruption investigation.
Mayor Andrew Gillum made the motion that, given the overwhelming public interest, all records that have been compiled and turned over to the FBI as a part of that investigation be placed on the city’s website after everything has been carefully redacted.
“This is not a recommendation for a wholesale policy change,” Gillum said, noting that this investigation has been unlike anything he’s seen since he was first elected to the commission in 2003.
Not even the Leon County Sheriff’s Office investigation of his own email compares to this, even though it took staff an inordinate amount of time to put together, he said.
Commissioner Curtis Richardson, who cast the lone no vote, said granting an exception in the case of one public records request could lead the commission down a “slippery slope.”
He didn’t see how one public records request was more important than another and called their decision subjective.
Commissioner Nancy Miller said the few requests for records related to the FBI investigation didn’t compare to the numerous complaints filed just to harass government workers.
Commissioner Scott Maddox made a motion that the commission go a step further and make all their emails related to city business going back five years available on the city’s website. That motion died without a second, but Commissioner Gil Ziffer asked that staff bring the item back with recommendations.
Ziffer called for the free release of all the FBI-related material more than a month ago.
“I’m pleased the mayor is supporting my desire to provide this information,” Ziffer said via text message Wednesday morning. [READ MORE]