Tallahassee, FL—On November 4, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott was re-elected as Governor, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was re-elected as Attorney General. Both re-elections only underscore what the Democratic base is screaming across the nation about the role money plays in politics. Floridians aren’t dancing in the streets because of Rick Scott’s re-election. It’s been reported that Rick Scott stated that he would not spend any of his own money to contribute to his campaign. And then in the last two weeks, Rick Scott forked over millions and millions of dollars because he was falling behind in the polls. After being re-elected, Rick Scott was mocked on a social media website for having forked over millions of dollars to be re-elected for a job that pays about $120,000 per year. (How many times could Rick Scott have paid himself with his own money? Do the math.)
Classic—American Greed! Money Over Smarts: The Downfall of Florida
Also, on November 4, 2014, the citizens of Tallahassee voted in favor of a City Ethics amendment. It’s been reported that this “City Ethics” amendment is the nation’s first anti-corruption measures at the city level. It’s been reported that the amendment passed with an “Overwhelmingly–Wide” favorable vote.
Is anyone surprised by the passing of this amendment?
Second Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, whose office is located inside of the Leon County Courthouse in downtown Tallahassee, has been the State Attorney for about thirty years or so. In the publics view, Willie Meggs, who is a native of Tallahassee, has a long track record of being hard-core on criminals. But behind the scenes, Willie Meggs is described by many in law enforcement and citizens as being “Off-the-Rocker”. Many people in local law enforcement fear him. Several judges worked directly for him as Assistant State Attorneys, so instead of risking the backlash for attempting to “de-throne” him, they were promoted to judgeship.
Over the past decade, Willie Meggs has assigned mostly all high profile criminal cases being investigated by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, to Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell to prosecute. Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell is the son of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. According to Jack Campbell’s profile, he is a native of Tallahassee, graduated from Leon High school in 1991, attended Samford University, Cumberland School of Law and was admitted to The Florida Bar in 2002. At which time, he began working for Willie Meggs. (Two of Willie Meggs’ children are employed at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office as Sheriff Campbell’s deputies.)
Tallahassee’s “Power Families”—one who brings the charge against citizens and the other who ensures the charge sticks—or in some cases publicly humiliate the citizens. And let’s not forget those judges who must show their gratitude for “ALL” that Willie Meggs has contributed to their success.
It’s been reported that the citizens of Tallahassee are tired of the corrupting influence of money in politics… The amendment that they voted in favor of will create an Ethics Advisory Panel (a seven member ethics board) with the power to investigate ethics complaints and levy civil penalties. While some citizens of Tallahassee may feel a sense of relief—the truth of the matter is that the amendment in a whole is unnecessary. It’s just another way of pacifying those in local government who are leading and feeding the corruption and hindering those who are in government or likewise, whose job it is to enforce policies against government officials who are unethical.
Nearly every level of government agency has a committee geared to handle ethic complaints against its employees. The Florida Bar governs licensed attorneys. The Judicial Qualifications Committee governs Judges. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement governs elected officials and other government officials. The Florida Department of Health governs all doctors and healthcare workers. Every state in America has a governor, a state attorney general, an inspector general, a surgeon general and a Department of Justice. There’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the state level, and when all else fails, there’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the Federal level. All of these government agencies are funded by tax dollars. It is their responsibility to ethically perform the job that they’re being paid to do by tax payers. In part, they are responsible for governing. At any time when they feel like they are unable to perform their job ethically—then they should resign or be fired. Nobody can deny relationships/ friendships between people working in government. But that relationships/ friendships are of a personal nature, to which government employees, regardless of their capacity, should not allow their personal life to have any influence on their job.
Imagine what would happen if a few people working for the Department of Children and Families began approving applications for public assistance for all of their family and friends, regardless of need. In recent years, a number of Department of Children and Families employees have been charged, arrested, and fired for possessing child pornography and/or acts of molesting children in state care. At what point did the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have to assemble a panel of seven of its employees together to decide if pictures of naked kids were in fact pictures of naked kids? At what point did the director of the Department of Children and Families have to assemble a panel of seven of its employees in order to decide whether or not to fire employees who hurt children? At every level of a government employee’s job, decisions made by that employee should be based on government policies and laws—not personal feelings. Decisions made should be based on what’s best for the community—the citizens—the tax payers—after all, that’s the way the laws are written. Again, when government employees struggle with this basic concept and can no longer conduct their jobs in an ethical manner—then they should no longer be allowed to accept money from tax payers in the form of a paycheck. Not only is it hypocritical—it’s unethical.
Many successful entrepreneurs in the private sector have admitted to having hired family members and friends to work for them, and then had to turn around and ask them to resign—and in some cases—had to terminate them—because they were bad for their business. So why should tax payers be burdened with government employees—whether they’re elected, hired off of the streets, or appointed—who are bad for their communities.
State Attorney Willie Meggs has been in office for nearly thirty years. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, has been sheriff for nearly 20 years—prior to that he was Leon County’s Undersheriff—prior to that he worked for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement—in addition to that–in the 1970’s he attended the FBI academy and he maintains close relations with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in both Tallahassee and Jacksonville. Sheriff Campbell has nearly fifty years or more experience in law enforcement—mainly (if not all) positioned there in Tallahassee. There’s no doubt that State Attorney Willie Meggs and Sheriff Larry Campbell have deep roots in Tallahassee’s judicial make-up and its proceedings. State Attorney Willie Meggs’ former Assistant State Attorneys have become judges in his circuit. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell’s former employees have retired and gone on to collect nearly $500,000 in retirement. The view of State Attorney Willie Meggs and Sheriff Larry Campbell from those working for them—may be no different from the view of a kid living in the inner-city who admires the flash and power of the heroin dealer who no longer has to stand on the street corner to sell heroin—but uses others to do his dirty work.
Tallahassee (Leon County) is the only major city/county of the six counties that make up Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit. Tallahassee has a population of 186,411 people in 103.1 square miles (267 km2). There are 60,100 people working in government jobs (possibly more)—this number includes law enforcement officers. There are seven different law enforcement agencies in Tallahassee. Nearly every defense attorney practicing law in Tallahassee relies on criminal cases to be appointed to them by the Leon County Clerk of Court whenever there’s a conflict with the Public Defender’s Office in providing legal representation to defendants. In most cases, the private attorneys are paid about $3,500 for each defendant that they represent. While $3,500 may not seem like much money, when private attorneys are repeatedly assigned cases, the money is guaranteed to come because the money is paid out by tax payers. Whereas, a private attorney representing a private client may not get paid in full right away or may not get paid in full at all. While assigning these case are the job of that of the clerk, Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell and Public Defender leader Nancy Daniels, both have admitted to having told judges which criminal defense attorneys to appoint to certain cases—and the judges failed to allow the clerk to do his/her job accordingly.
Second Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, his son, Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell, along with others have fooled themselves into believing that they have “ALL OF THE POWER” in Tallahassee.
On November 4, 2014, Tallahassee citizens made history by voting in favor of the amendment—who is celebrating? Surely not the government officials who have worked hard to build up their career—and now, by association, have fallen to “co-corruptor” because of those who put selfishness and greed over ethics. Who is celebrating? Surely not those who have fallen victim to corrupt government officials and corrupt government employees. So, who is celebrating?
Going forward, the Ethics Advisory Panel may comfort the majority of Tallahassee citizens, but in order to truly show respect for those who wrote the United States Constitution—and to show respect for those who amended the United State Constitution to benefit ALL OF US—and to truly show respect for Blacks and Whites who gave their lives on U.S. soil and in other countries for ALL OF US to have FREEDOM—and to truly inspire young people to stand up for their rights—those who currently hold positions to govern ethics complaints need to do their jobs and rid Tallahassee’s current corrupt government officials and government employees. Tallahassee citizens should not allow corrupt government officials and government employees to go on exploiting their tax dollars.