Focus on Ethics
The City of Tallahassee is committed to providing and maintaining a strong sense of ethics in the workplace. In any democratic system, it is essential that the public has confidence in the integrity, independence and impartiality of those who act on their behalf in government.
Championed by ethics reformer and former Florida governor Ruebin Askew, the state's first-ever ballot initiative, passed by voters in 1976, declared that "a public office is a public trust." To that end, the City Commission adopted the following preamble, authored by former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead, to supplement the loyalty oath sworn by City staff:
Whereas the citizens of Tallahassee have determined that they will be best served by adopting a municipal form of local government; and whereas the citizens have vested in the public officials and employees of that municipal government the responsibility and trust for operating that government for the benefit of its citizens; and whereas those citizens are entitled to a government that is open, ethical, responsive and accountable to the highest degree possible; now, therefore, the following ethics code is adopted:
To ensure and enhance public confidence in local government, the City provides an array of measures to make sure that officials and staff are performing their duties at the highest moral standard possible. These measures include:
- Creation of an independent City Ethics Officer to provide oversight, advice, and administrative functions relating to ethics that may impact City officials, management, staff, vendors, and the public.
- Creation of a comprehensive Code of Ethics to guide officials and employees in the execution of their duties.
- Ethics and Fraud Hotline - This hotline allows concerned citizens and employees to anonymously report a suspected incident of fraud, waste, or abuse involving City money, property, or other public resources.
- Mandatory Ethics Training - Elected officials and City staff must complete an ethics course when they join the city workforce, with refresher courses every three years.
- Increased financial disclosure concerning elected and appointed officials.
The City is in the process of hiring an independent Ethics Officer. If you or someone you know is interested in serving in this capacity, please apply through Human Resources.
In 2014, the City Commission approved numerous ethics enhancements in response to a list of recommendations presented by an Ethics Advisory Panel, an independent panel tasked with examining the various City policies, procedures, and practices relating to ethics, financial disclosures, and transparency of the government. During the course of the Panel's work, the Panel conducted 16 meetings to review the City's existing operations and held two public hearings to solicit input from the community. Please see a comprehensive list of enhancements adopted by the City Commission.