Tallahassee’s newly sworn in mayor, Mayor John Dailey made his first public appearance in his mayoral role at our November NEBA luncheon. Standing before a full room of Tallahassee’s business movers and shakers, the Mayor laid out his approach to overcoming the challenges facing our city and his vision for the future.  

Mayor Dailey opened up with a commitment of, “We may not always get it right at city hall, but we will work hard for the citizens of Tallahassee.”  The Mayor has already taken swift symbolic action: on his first day, he reduced the mayor’s office staff from 10 down to 4 and he has transferred the mayor’s lobbying budget of $180,000 back to the city manager’s office.  

At the next commission meeting, the mayor will propose the waiving of the 3-minute time limit of audience to be heard segments.  He expressed concern for limiting time on citizens who have taken the time and effort to come to city hall to express their concerns and insights, and the government restricting that right to be heard.  

Mayor Dailey then shared how he was looking forward to the upcoming strategic planning meeting in January with his fellow commissioners, where he will want to focus on public safety, ethics reform and economic development. Road construction and infrastructure are areas that interest the mayor.  Moreover, he shared with NEBA members and guests that CSX has a rail spur right next to the Tallahassee airport and that freight transport could be a key growth opportunity that could lead to future reductions in fees, making passenger air travel less expensive.

Mayor Dailey also affirmed his campaign commitment to single-member districts by instituting a charter review.  He went even further, saying he wanted to explore the potential of adding two more “at-large” commissioner seats, if the city were to go to districts.  The Mayor discussed his commitment to Tallahassee’s most “problematic” zip code, 32304, which is considered by a Harvard study as being one of the most segregated communities in the state and country, and how elementary education has suffered.  The Mayor will work with both the city, county commission, as well as the school board, to see if a Florida Chamber 3rd Grade Initiative can be leveraged to solve the challenges in 32304.  

In response to audience questioning, the mayor said he recognized that permitting needs to improve.  He voiced the potential of having any permits that are 30, 60 days pending to be reported to the commission to troubleshoot breakdowns in processing.

Finally, Mayor Dailey emphasized that any success will not be due to his office, but rather working closely with his fellow commissioners, not only at city hall, but at the county level.  He cited the school board must be involved in all intergovernmental partnering.

NEBA luncheon then concluded and outgoing NEBA president Will Crowley thanked the board and members for their support of our organization and wished everyone Happy Holidays.  

Below are pictures taken by Catherine Baer and video recorded and edited by Will Haley.

See you in 2019!!!!