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Jacksonville Civic Council expects new executive director by mid-July

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Jacksonville Civic Council leaders expect to hire a new executive director by early to mid-July.

Susie Wiles, who took the interim role in February after inaugural Executive Director Don Shea returned to New Orleans, said Monday five candidates will be interviewed June 24-25 in Jacksonville.

Asked how many local candidates might be among the five, she said the Civic Council did not want to discuss specifics.

"I think we are confident that the pool of candidates will result in hiring someone well-qualified," she said.

The five were narrowed from a list of 15 who were culled from the more than 150 people who initially expressed interest, she said.

The Korn/Ferry International recruiting firm was hired to develop a short list and has been working with a Civic Council search committee chaired by University of North Florida President John Delaney.

Wiles said Korn/Ferry and the council developed a job description for the position. She said the council wanted to remain private when asked who will interview the candidates and the potential salary of the new executive director.

The Civic Council's membership comprises more than 60 business and civic leaders. It is governed by a board of directors.

Civic Council Chairman Steve Halverson, CEO of The Haskell Co., announced in February that Wiles, who helped to advise the council when it was formed, agreed to serve as interim executive director when Shea returned to New Orleans to become director of economic development for St. Tammany Parish. His career included a stint as CEO of the New Orleans Downtown Development District.

"We hope and expect to have someone in place by July. As a general matter we aren't making public the details of the search process but of course will have a public statement when we make a selection," Halverson said Sunday in an email.

Shea joined the Civic Council in September 2010 from Louisiana, where he was executive director of the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority.

During his time in Jacksonville, Shea also served as an adviser to Mayor Alvin Brown on Downtown redevelopment and was one of the first appointments to the Downtown Investment Authority.

He resigned from the Civic Council effective Jan. 23. He was replaced on the authority by former City planner Mike Saylor.

Shea also was an executive-on-loan to Brown for much of the mayor's first year in office and served as his transition staff director. He assisted in Brown's government reorganization efforts and economic development reform.

Wiles' experience includes serving as chief of staff for Delaney when he was mayor, as communications chief for former Mayor John Peyton and as campaign manager for Gov. Rick Scott.

The private, nonprofit council was formed in 2010 and succeeded the Jacksonville Non-Group. Its initial chairman was Peter Rummell. Halverson was appointed effective Jan. 1 for a two-year term.

Its mission is to create a clear vision for the city along with strategies and tactics to achieve it.

"The Civic Council's vision for Jacksonville is simple and straightforward: We want our city to be a safe, personally satisfying, economically rewarding place to live and raise a family," it says on its jaxciviccouncil.com website.

"Our mission is to build Jacksonville's reputation as a successful, medium-sized city that takes pride in itself, is known for integrity and predictable growth, and affords all its citizens equal opportunity and respect," it says.

The Civic Council lists three task forces:

• Northbank Redevelopment Task Force, chaired by Preston Haskell, founder of The Haskell Co. The report was released Feb. 8, 2011.

• City Budget & Pension Task Force, chaired by Walt Bussells, perhaps best known as a former CEO of the JEA. The task force worked on recommendations for the City administration and City Council to identify cost-saving opportunities, ways to improve the economic development approval process to make Jacksonville more competitive with other cities for job growth, better use of existing City assets both financial and capital, and structural changes to the City's pension system to reduce the financial burden on future municipal operating revenue. Wiles said the task force made an oral report last year to the membership.

• Medical/Life Sciences Task Force, co-chaired by Doug Baer, president and CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation, and Dr. William Rupp, CEO of Mayo Clinic Florida. The task force was created to identify and make recommendations for how the industry could become "a booming field in Jacksonville." Wiles said the study was nearly completed.

More task forces are being formed, she said.

The website outlines the seven criteria that define the Civic Council's vision. See the website for more information.

• A safe city.

• Great schools, K-12 and beyond.

• A growing economy with a varied base of growth industries.

• A standard of operational excellence at all levels of government.

• A fun and energetic Downtown.

• A strong arts, cultural and sports environment.

• A city that offers equal opportunities for all, regardless of race or religion.

The next Civic Council executive director will join a cadre of new leaders in the area.

Among them are Duval County Superintendent of Schools Nikolai Vitti; Jacksonville University President Tim Cost; Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nathaniel Ford; JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis, a state representative; City Office of Economic Development Executive Director Ted Carter; JEA CEO Paul McElroy; UF Health Jacksonville CEO Russ Armistead; and Visit Jacksonville President and CEO Paul Astleford.

Also, the Downtown Investment Authority voted to offer Aundra Wallace, executive director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the job as its inaugural CEO.

Several organizations continue to search for new CEOs, including Florida State College at Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Port Authority.

Supply Source plans for Southside relocation

The City is reviewing plans to renovate space for The Supply Source at the Deerwood Distribution Center.

Commercial Interiors is the contractor for the proposed $356,120 project to modify 69,098 square feet of offices, print shop and warehouse space.

EastGroup Properties Inc. is the landlord for the space at 8500 Baycenter Road.

NAI Hallmark Partners, the leasing agent for the EastGroup Properties Inc. industrial portfolio in Jacksonville, announced in May it had completed a long-term lease for The Supply Source at the address.

The Jacksonville-based supply- chain management company will move its corporate headquarters from 7076 Davis Creek Road.

Rossman takes new Simon role

Lyndsay Rossman, director of marketing and business development at St. Johns Town Center, becomes corporate director of tourism for Simon Malls on July 8.

Rossman posted on her Facebook page Monday that she will remain in Jacksonville at the Town Center, a Simon property.

Before joining the Town Center in 2011, Rossman was director of corporate communications with Visit Jacksonville.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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