The reaction has been positive. Many people are looking for ways to move Jacksonville forward and create a stronger city.
It turns out my idea is not new.
I heard from several people including attorney Wyman Duggan, who was chair of the City Charter Revision Commission. The commission met in 2010 and meets every 10 years to investigate and make recommendations to the City Council and Legislature on potential amendments to the City charter to make Jacksonville better.
Among its many recommendations two years ago, the commission suggested each new mayor develop a four-year strategic plan with guidance and consensus from the City Council president, Duval County School Board chair or superintendent, our constitutional officers — the sheriff, clerk of courts, property appraiser, tax collector and supervisor of elections — and the managing directors of the JEA, Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Jacksonville Port Authority, Jacksonville Aviation Authority and Jacksonville Housing Authority. The commission also suggested the mayor include corporate leaders and others.
The structure is a little different from what I suggested, but the notion is the same. It's similar to ideas you hear discussed at water coolers, coffee shops and private clubs.
The questions being asked around the community are pretty much the same.
In a still stagnant economy with much uncertainty, how do we take advantage of our district strong mayor form of government, marshal all of our talent and leadership, set a vision for Jacksonville, develop a strategic plan and then work together to reach our goals?
Let's be honest.
Jacksonville is not the only city where people are asking these questions. Others want what we want, but something is missing here. We all know it. We all talk about it, but how do we do turn conversation into concrete results?
What makes us different is our structure is designed to make this work.
Our consolidated form of government, with its strong mayor and independent agencies, is tailored so Jacksonville can break the sound barrier while other cities struggle to break a sweat.
It starts at the top or it does not start at all. If we are to break through that barrier, Jacksonville must have a pilot willing to buckle up and be unafraid to let it fly.
In Jacksonville, the top is the mayor. The mayor is our pilot.
We have strong individuals in Jacksonville. We have some elected officials who have had the temporary dust of power sprinkled on them.
But in Jacksonville, only the mayor is totally immersed in the holy water of power.
In Jacksonville, if we are going to progress, the mayor must lead.
Someone said, "There comes a moment when you have to stop revving up the car and shove it into gear."
I'm sure the mayor knows many people are ready for Jacksonville to soar and many are willing to step up and help.
Mayor, we are ready to take Jacksonville to the next level. Tell us what we can do together.
There have been some interesting comments about my column last week suggesting the mayor tap into the unusually large number of new executives taking leadership positions in our independent agencies and organizations to create a Council of Leaders.