City Moves Forward With Ethics Advisory Panel

City moves forward with ethics advisory panel

7:50 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |  Written by TaMaryn Waters | Tallahassee Democrat staff writer

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Panel members

•  Martha Barnett, Chair – Barnett is a partner in the law firm of Holland & Knight. Her primary areas of practice are administrative, governmental law and public policy. She served as president of the American Bar Association in 2000-2001 and as Chair of the Florida Commission on Ethics in 1986 -1987.

•  Justice Harry Lee Anstead – Justice Anstead is the retired Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. His career includes service as Supreme Court Justice (1994-2009), Appeals Court Chief Judge (1977-1994) and trial and appellate lawyer (1964-1977).

•  John Calhoun – Calhoun is currently the Director of the Office of Ombudsman and Public Services at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and is a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

•  Reverend Brant Copeland – Rev. Copeland is currently the pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church, located at 110 North Adams Street.

•  Lila A. Jaber – Jaber is an attorney with the Gunster law firm. Her past experience includes service as a staff attorney with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), and she was twice appointed by Gov. Bush to serve as a member of the PSC.

•  Joseph Landers Jr. – Landers is a graduate of Stetson Law and a former state employee who served as chief cabinet aide to Gov. Ruben Askew. Other posts included service as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Regulation and Director of the Florida Department of Natural Resources.

•  Andrea Valencia Nelson – Nelson is an attorney and president of the Nelson Law Firm, PLC. She was formerly employed with the Florida Department of Transportation, Tallahassee Community College, Office of the State Attorney – Sixth Judicial District, and was an intern at the Gwinnett County, Georgia Solicitor’s Office.

Alternate members

•  Howard Rasmussen retired as a director of Management Development at FSU’s Florida Center for Public Management. His experience also includes service to law enforcement as well as teaching at both the community college and university levels.

•  Marilynn Wills – Wills is a retired educator and member of the League of Women Voters since 1968, serving several terms as President of the Tallahassee league. She also served on the Leon County Charter Review Committee.

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By next year, city commissioners will learn whether current policies related to ethics and benefits should remain, change or be scrapped.The commission unanimously approved an esteemed crop of volunteers appointed to a new seven-member ethics advisory panel and its bylaws. Commissioners also gave a deadline extension for the cash-strapped Performing Arts Center and signed off on a compensation package for incoming City Attorney Lewis Shelley, now serving as the city’s deputy attorney.

The panel, whose creation was led by Commissioner Andrew Gillum, will meet for the first time today. It’s slated to work the next six months reviewing the city’s policies on ethics, financial disclosures, overall transparency at City Hall, perks and benefits. At Wednesday’s meeting, some voiced concern about the committee’s lawyer-heavy composition.

“We need a different make-up of the committee, and it needs to be a committee with some teeth,” said Bob Fulford, a former City Commission candidate in the August primary election, adding more time should have been allotted before making a call on the panel’s make-up.

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