An open letter from the City of Tallahassee
Dear Citizens of Tallahassee,
As your elected officials, we have the privilege of serving this community and its people. We do so because, like you, we love Tallahassee and want to make our home a safe, economically vibrant, inclusive place to live and work.
Over the last few months, discussions about the FBI and recent accusations about the City Manager have some in our community concerned. The City is fully cooperating with all official investigations, and we want to respect the investigations as those agencies complete their work. Once they have presented their findings, we can address them fairly and with impartiality. As elected officials, we must make difficult decisions every day to ensure Tallahassee continues forward in a direction that reflects the values of this community, and we make those decisions armed with facts.
While we await the outcome of the investigations, there are issues impacting this community that we are actively working to address. Regardless of what the political headline of the hour is, the operational side of this government – the services you rely on daily from public safety to electricity – must continue.
Tallahassee is facing serious challenges, namely gun violence. While overall crime is down, too many lives are being lost.Through boots-on-the-ground community efforts, like the Neighborhood Public Safety Initiative, and cooperative law enforcement efforts, like the Violent Crimes Task Force, we are collectively acting to take our community back from the grips of this violence. There is strength in unity, and united, we will continue to fight back against this issue that threatens our quality of life.
To pause operations as a result of the investigations would be a misuse of citizens’ tax dollars. As an organization, the City operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and handles a myriad of public service needs, such as storm water, code enforcement, animal services, parks, road and sidewalk maintenance, garbage/recycling removal, permitting and so on. All of this runs on 2,800 professionals dedicated to serving you.
We understand that citizens may be concerned because of the investigations. As a Commission, we are working to strengthen our policies and practices to ensure we uphold the public’s trust. At our workshop on Oct. 25, we unanimously voted to adopt every recommendation brought forth by the Independent Ethics Board, with a change to one word so that the language remains consistent with the State. These changes help further ensure citizen confidence that should there ever be any findings, they will be handled appropriately.
Let’s not let the negativity of the moment overshadow the good work that is happening, nor distract us from the important work that must be done. Your trust has not been misplaced. You elected us to lead, and we will continue to do so remaining focused on the task at hand – providing reliable, high quality municipal services and creating a safe, inclusive environment for every citizen.
Office of the Mayor – Tallahassee, FL Andrew Gillum
Mayor Pro Tem Gil Ziffer