Tallahassee Mayor Faces Ethics Charges Over Smart Meter Contract

Tallahassee Mayor Faces Ethics Charges Over Smart Meter Contract

One complaint claims Marks broke the law in 2007 by voting to give Honeywell International a no-bid, multi-million-dollar contract to deploy smart meters in Tallahassee while Marks was a partner in a law firm representing Honeywell. The other complaint says in 2010 Marks illegally voted on a federal grant worth $1.6 million to improve broadband service through a project involving an Atlanta nonprofit that was paying Marks as an adviser.

According to Florida law, public officials are not allowed to work for any entity doing business with the agency or board on which they serve. They are also prohibited from voting on matters that would create a special gain for themselves or their business associates.

The complaints were filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics by local businessman Erwin Jackson, who told the Tallahassee Democrat: “To me, it just seems like it’s fairly routine at best that a small group of individuals have financial interests in too many of the contracts that are being let by the city of Tallahassee.”

Marks calls the complaints politically motivated, claiming to be the victim of Jackson and another businessman Steve Stewart, who ran against Marks for mayor in the last election. “They are candidates who ran for mayor and city commissioner, and they were rejected by the voters. Ever since the election, they have been trying to reverse the will of the voters with a barrage of negative attacks. I’m guessing we will see more charges from these two in the weeks to come. The people of Tallahassee elected me to serve as their mayor, and I will not let these attacks distract me from my service to the city. I trust that my fellow citizens will see through this abuse of our system and continue to reject these tactics.”

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