Dr. Ammons, President of Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) earns $325,000 annually, while the Mayor of Tallahassee, John Marks, is paid $72,000 annually with added benefits could go as high as $106.000. Both Mayor Marks and Dr. Ammons are paid to lead a team of employees in overseeing the lives of thousands of students and residents. They must make decisions on not only the daily operations of a city, and a university, but the future operations in providing a vibrate environment for a safe and enjoyable place to live and learn.
Both leaders are now in trouble, with the city Mayor facing a probable cause findings by the Florida Ethics Commission and Dr. Ammons for the events leading up to the hazing death of the Marching 100 Drum Major, Robert Champion, in November 2011. In addition to the Mayor’s ethics violations, the city has recorded three murders in the month of June 2012. Dr. Ammons was given a vote of no confidence by the most recent meeting of the Board of Trustees. Both leaders claim unfair criticism by the public and vow to remain at the helm of their respective positions. In the case of the Mayor, the public will respond in the upcoming 2012 election as to whether they believe in his leadership ability, or his inability.
Last year Forbes Magazine voted Tallahassee as one of the top ten most dangerous communities. The three murders committed in the city in June, with a week remaining, bring the yearly total to 12. In all of 2011 the total was 13, with more than half the year to go this number will certainly continue to increase. In every murder, a firearm was used and the suspect was under the age of 25 with one in June being only 17 years of age. The murders took place on West Tharpe, Lake Avenue and Doolittle Avenue, all in areas where turf disputes over drugs have occurred in the past.
Are the leaders to blame for the actions of students and residents living under their leadership? The parents of Robert Champion believe so and plan to sue FAMU for not aggressively pursuing a plan of action to eliminate hazing. Former Band Director, Dr. White, claimed that Dr. Ammons ignored his pleas for assistance in this regard. Dr. Ammons did blame Dr. White and relieved him of his position. Dr. White blamed Dr. Ammons and later resigned.
No one has blamed Mayor Marks for the rise in crime. No one has blamed Chief of Police Dennis Jones or Sheriff Campbell for it either. However, city leaders must accept this responsibility. It is believed that most of the firearms used in the murders were stolen. This assumption has not been published or acknowledged by the Tallahassee Police Department or the Leon County Sheriff’s Department. However, how else does a 17 year old obtain a firearm and or by a convicted felon? Chief Jones did go public warning gun owners to properly secure their weapons from being stolen. The city deserves more leadership in preventing the violence or 2012 will end up with the highest crime rate in the state.