Commissioner Gil Ziffer - Seat 5
Recent Service to the City of Tallahassee
Gil Ziffer's service to Tallahassee spans more than a decade, beginning in 2002 when he was appointed by Mayor Scott Maddox to the strategic planning committee charged with the research and development of the Cultural Resource Plan for the region. His first elected position was as Seat 4 Supervisor for the Capital Region Community Development District (Southwood) in the November 2008 General Election. In August 2009, he was selected to serve the balance of the term of the Tallahassee City Commission seat 5, and in August 2010, he was elected to a four-year term and re-elected in 2014.
In addition to his City Commission positions, Commissioner Ziffer is also the First Vice President of the Florida League of Cities. He will serve as the League's President commencing in August of 2017.
His impact on the city has been vast, with a major focus on those in need – from children to the homeless to human service and cultural arts. The Boys and Girls Club is an excellent example. Several years ago, this regional agency serving more than 1,200 low-income children throughout Leon and Gadsden counties, was on the brink of closing its doors due to a lack of funding. According to its President and CEO Theresa Flury: "When it appeared the Boys & Girls Club was set for closure, Commissioner Ziffer single-handedly brought business leaders together to develop a financial plan to ensure the club's sustainable future. In essence, he saved the club and hundreds of children and teenagers who had nowhere else to go after school. Today the club is poised for the future and providing quality services."
Commissioner Ziffer has long been an advocate for the needs of the homeless. In early 2013 he was asked to be the City's representative working with a leadership group from the private sector, the homeless sector and Leon County. The Shelter, a privately run facility for the homeless in downtown, Tallahassee found itself in a crisis situation. Long-standing tensions existed between The Shelter, other local agencies, government and the United Way who all provided funding assistance. Through many long hours of meetings, negotiations, consensus building and significant leadership from Commissioner Ziffer, the group identified new partnerships and in February 2014 broke ground for a new 36,000 square-foot Comprehensive Emergency Services Center. The center serves as the new home for The Shelter, which can now better serve the needs of the homeless.
In the same vein, in 2012 / 2013, Commissioner Ziffer was a driving force behind a campaign called Change for Change, designed to increase citizen giving to address homelessness, by adding a monthly contribution to their city utility bills. As the lead commissioner on the City's Quality of Life Target Issue Committee, Commissioner Ziffer spoke to dozens of community groups sharing his personal experiences as a volunteer with the Big Bend Homeless Coalition and describing the needs of homeless children and families in the community. He personally secured more than 100 new contributors. After a year of outreach, the number of participants increased by 85% and contributions increased 98% with $60,000 annually in new funding for homelessness service providers.
Commissioner Ziffer has recently spearheaded a group of service providers and citizens to develop a "Community School" concept in a high crime area of South Tallahassee. Through his efforts a Health Center has been established in Rickards High School in addition to a food pantry. The Health Center also provides mental and dental health services to students and members of the immediate community.
He has also served for many years as an advocate for the arts. In 2012, he combined his passion for promoting the arts with a life-saving effort when he proposed playing music as a way to bring awareness to the fight against cancer. According to Collette Washington, the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Advisor for the NW Region, "Gil presented the idea to our community of having donated pianos painted pink and displayed at local businesses to promote both music and breast cancer awareness." In 2013 he implemented the Pink Pianos for Breast Cancer project with 16 pianos at various locations which raised over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society. "He spearheaded the entire project from finding pianos, to storing them, to having a painter paint them, to finding the business sponsors and media partners. It was an outstanding success," said Washington.
Other accomplishments include leading an extensive effort to update the City's Cultural Plan, serving as the lead fundraiser in finding business sponsors for a variety of amenities at the City's new Cascades Park, co-hosting monthly meetings with citizens, students, and organizations to better understand concerns and allow for greater input from citizens into the work of city government, serving as the Chair on the American Lung Association of the Big Bend's Board of Directors just to name a few.
Service to the Northwest Florida League of Cities and the Florida League of Cities
Gil Ziffer was appointed as the City of Tallahassee's representative to the NWFLC from 2011 through 2012. In that capacity he was a regular attendee at the meetings and worked tirelessly to help ensure the priorities of the League were addressed collectively, with the legislature, and with his colleagues at the City of Tallahassee.
In November 2012, he was appointed by Tallahassee Mayor John Marks to serve on the Florida League of Cities Board of Directors. He has been an active home rule advocate for both the NWFLC and FLC by meeting with legislators within the Northwest Florida area since 2011. He has also served on the Florida League of Cities' Resolutions Committee since 2013.
Service to the Northwest Florida League of Cities, the Florida League of Cities & the National League of Cities
- 1st Vice President of the Florida League of Cities
- Board member of the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust
- 2015-16 Board Member of the Florida Municipal Investment Trust
- Past member of the NLC Crime Prevention and Public Safety Advocacy Committee
- Current member of the NLC Human Development Advocacy Committee
- Appointed as the City of Tallahassee's representative to the NWFLC from 2011 through 2012 and again in 2016
- Appointed to the Florida League of Cities Board of Directors in 2012
- He has been an active home rule advocate for both the NWFLC and FLC by meeting with legislators within the Northwest Florida area since 2011
- 2016 Member Florida League of Cities Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Legislative Policy Committee
- 2016 Chairman of Florida League of Cities Legislative Committees
Boards and Memberships
- The University of Central Florida's Center for Community Schools and Child Welfare Innovation Advisory Board
- Friends of Florida State Parks
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Coalition
- Big Bend Continuum of Care Board
- Keep Tallahassee Leon County Beautiful
- Chairman of Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency
- Vice Chair Tallahassee and Leon County Dementia Care and Cure Initiative Advisory Council
- Florida Economics Club
- Capital City Tiger Bay Club
Recent Honors and Awards
- 2014 Northwest Florida League of Cities Municipal Official of the Year
- 2014, 15 & 16 Florida League of Cities "Home Rule HERO Award"
- 2015 the American Lung Association of the Southeast (ALASE) Charles F. Tate Volunteer of the Year Award
- Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Servant Leader of the Year - Distinguished Leadership Award
Contact Commissioner Gil Ziffer