The Tallahassee City Commission chambers were filled with citizens and staff for the City Commission Ethics Workshop Monday morning. With more than an hour of speakers, the meeting was primarily a show of support for Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad.
This comes after last week’s release of City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow’s performance review of Goad. Matlow gave Goad a 1.4 out of 5 in the review that he released on Twitter. He went on to say he had lost all confidence in Goad as the city manager.
Matlow added, “I think the city manager should resign and if he refuses to do so, I think this commission should relieve him of his duty. The fact is, he’s part of an old guard. It’s time for us to move in a new direction, it’s time for us to clean house, wash our hands and finally rid ourselves of the corrupt past of this city.”
Goad was accused of a list of misdeeds by Matlow. These accusations included defending nepotism policy, audit findings of careless record keeping, inconsistent hiring and firing practices and personal litigation of withholding public records.
Few speakers came to the podium in support of Matlow’s position on Goad. A combination of citizens and city employees spoke on personal and professional times where Goad went above and beyond the call of duty. The packed audience stood and raised their hands when speakers asked for visual support.
Althemese Barnes, long time Tallahassee resident and founding director of the John C. Riley Museum, presented her concerns with the frenzy caused by the performance review. Upon finding out about the news, Barnes said, “My reaction was disappointing and concerning.”
With 28 years of personnel management experience, Barnes gave the commission advice on how to keep Tallahassee in a positive light. Barnes’ advice included stronger internal communication, deescalating conflict and being mindful of the impact to the city.
“So my hope is that moving forward, we’ll be able to come through this with a spirit of cooperation, redirect the approach that we used and hopefully get on track in a positive spirit to do the business of the city,” Barnes said.
Mayor John Dailey addressed the audience in support of Matlow’s idea of a better Tallahassee and encourages city employees to speak up about their concerns. Dailey admitted he is happy with Goad’s work as city manager. “As I have said previously and I’ll say it again, I have full confidence in our city manager Reese Goad,” Dailey said.
“Even though it’s not on our agenda, I do think that is it appropriate to take a ceremonial vote of support based on the evaluations that took place, in support of our city manager,” Dailey said.
City Commissioner Curtis Richardson made the motion for the vote that the mayor immediately seconded.
In a 4-1 vote, the city commission voted in support of Goad as the city manager. Matlow was the lone dissenter.