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Council member Kimberly Daniels presented Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Michael Blaylock a framed resolution commending his 30-plus years of service. During the presentation, she called him a “pillar of our city for many years.” Several Council members also thanked him for his service.
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Council members John Crescimbeni and Bill Gulliford with young Jack Gross, who presented Council with a $207.45 check toward continued operation of the Mayport Ferry. Gross also served as a page for Tuesday’s meeting and collected the money through selling some of his belongings at a garage sale.

Brown announces Council candidacy

by David Chapman, Staff Writer

City Council member Reggie Brown withdrew legislation Tuesday for the Council presidency to alternate annually between political parties and then announced his candidacy for Council vice president next year.

Brown, a Democrat, said he knew the bill, which overwhelmingly failed at last week’s Council Rules Committee, would “fall on its face.”

He said his intent was to raise awareness about the leadership issue. “More importantly, I wanted to plant the seed” to discuss it, he said.

Brown, one of six Democrats on the 19-member Council, said political affiliation and race might be playing a role in the leadership selection.

The president and vice president are elected by the 19 council members. The Council president appoints members as chairs and vice chairs of committees.

Usually, but not always, the vice president is elected as president the following year.

During the Rules Committee meeting, Brown mentioned “a group of people in particular who felt we were not recognized,” during the committee selection process.

Brown was among four black Council members, all Democrats, who protested their committee assignments. They cited the lack of inclusion on the Council Rules and Finance committees and the lack of a minority committee chair.  

Council President Bill Bishop did not initially appoint a black Council member to chair any of the five committees. He then split one committee and appointed member Kimberly Daniels to chair it.

During the Council and committee meetings, Brown used the metaphor of a car with three full tires and one flat tire to describe the state of Council politics.

He said his candidacy for vice president would allow him and the City an opportunity to use the system in place and provide an opportunity to “move forward.”

“I think we’re ready to repair that tire,” he said during the meeting.

Daniels, a Democrat, called the current process of electing leadership “very imbalanced” while questioning a “needs-to-be-earned” mentality.

“It should be really looking at people who are qualified and not working out things behind the scenes,” Daniels said.

Brown said after the meeting that if African-Americans, in particular, had not been given that leadership opportunity then it was an unfair process.

“I do feel that I can serve on any committee, but I have never been offered Finance nor Rules since I have been on Council. That needs to change, because we act like we have to have these special skills, and that’s not the case,” Brown said.

He said he would write a letter this week to distribute to his Council colleagues to garner support for his candidacy as Council vice president for the 2013-14 Council year, which begins July 1.

Typically, Council leadership is elected in late May or early June.

dchapman@baileypub.com

356-2466

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