Charter Review Committee hears from public

Charter Review Committee meeting.
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Tallahassee’s Charter Review Committee held its fifth meeting on Thursday to discuss the size of the city commission, possible pay hikes, and future elections while welcoming input from the public.

According to, the CRC aims to consider four main topics: the number of seats on the city’s governing body, county, and city commissioners’ compensation, clarifying if municipal primary elections should be held with only two qualifying candidates for the office of mayor or city commissioner position, and the requirements of an appointed Charter Review Committee at regular intervals. The two-hour meeting took place at City Hall.

There have been ongoing debates on whether the city commissioners’ salaries should increase, which are factored based on the amount that Leon County commissioners earn. The Tallahassee city commissioners’ current salaries are half the amount of county commissioners. County commissioners make $90,577 while city commissioners sit at $45,288. The mayor, while a member of the city commission, is paid at the same rate as the county commissioners.

One citizen who attended the meeting questioned if citizens view the role of city commissioner as important as other positions.

“I think it’s getting beyond just showing up part-time. This job requires so many things from them, and I believe their compensation is way too below for what they do, $45,000 is too low based on the workload,” they said. “They should be paid more for the time they spend on all these issues.”

Another citizen expressed uncertainty regarding the salaries of the city commissioners. “Many of us are considering an increase in compensation, but there needs to be a fair process in what that number should be,” they said.

The other hot topic was whether the number of city commissioners should be changed from 5 to 7.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, former City Commissioner Mark Mustian, who is chair of the CRC, believes it is fine as is.

“I think it works fairly well the way it is,” Mustian said. “I don’t know that seven is any better than five. I’d probably be inclined just to leave it the way it is.”

The current ratio with just 5 city commissioners is a 3-2 voting dynamic. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, city commissioners Curtis Richardson and Dianne Williams-Cox with Mayor John Dailey form the majority, and commissioners Jack Porter and Jeremy Matlow are in the minority on many issues.

One citizen said they support the expansion of city commissioner seats. “It’s a great move we can make, it’s a step in the right direction,” they said.

According to a survey on, 51.4% of citizens voted to remain at 5 city commissioner seats, 68.6% voted to retain at-large/citywide voting, and 60% voted yes for full-time city commissioners on par with county commissioners’ compensation.

When it comes to the idea of whether to conduct a primary election when there are only two candidates or not, 60% of citizens voted yes.

For some people, the meeting went well but others felt differently.

One person expressed their disappointment during the meeting

“I want the record to reflect that this conversation has not been honest. Going from 5 to 7 could help bring new ideas but we’re not exploring it because some folks are playing small petty politics. Today we were not able to have an honest conversation,” they said.

CRC members said that 8-10 years is too long a period in between reviews of the charter, while the city’s survey showed that  82.7% of citizens believe a review should occur every 10 years.

The next CRC meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 20. For more information on upcoming Tallahassee Charter Committee Reviews, visit the website.