Freeman to represent District 10 for Reginald Brown; Pittman will take over District 8 for Katrina Brown.
Republican Terrance Freeman and Democrat Ju’Coby Pittman will replace suspended City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown, Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday.
Scott suspended Katrina Brown and Reginald Brown, who are not related, June 1 after they were indicted by a federal grand jury. Both are Democrats.
Freeman, who most recently was an aide to council President Aaron Bowman, will represent Reginald Brown’s seat in District 10. He is a regional director for Ygrene Energy Fund’s Jacksonville office.
Pittman will take over for Katrina Brown in District 8. She is CEO and president of the nonprofit Clara White Mission.
Pittman unsuccessfully ran for the At-Large Group 5 council seat in 2015 and Freeman did not make it out of the state House District 12 primary in 2016.
Federal prosecutors allege Katrina Brown and Reginald Brown devised a scheme to illegally funnel money from a federal small business loan, as well as a city-backed loan and grant, using a failed barbecue sauce plant as a front.
The replacements will serve the remainder of the suspended council members’ terms, which run through July 2019, unless Scott lifts the suspensions. Only the Florida Senate can permanently remove sitting public officials.
In response to Scott’s announcement, the Duval County Democratic Party raised concerns over Freeman’s residency, saying “it flies in the face of logic why Scott would appoint a Mandarin Republican, who lives 20 miles away in District 6, to Democratic Council District 10 on the city’s Northside.
“It’s hard to find the connection between the needs of the constituents of District 10 with this appointment,” the statement says.
Freeman may not be able to run for the seat in 2019.
According to the Office of General Counsel, Freeman would need to establish residency 183 days before the Jan. 7-11 qualifying period.
As of Tuesday, 185 days until Jan. 11, Freeman remained a resident of District 6.
Neither Pittman nor Freeman could be reached for comment.
Each will have two spots on council committees, although Bowman has not made an announcement and could not be reached Tuesday.
The council president has vacant seats on the Land Use and Zoning Committee, the Transportation, Energy and Utilities Committee, the Rules Committee and the Neighborhoods, Community Services, Public Health and Safety Committee.
Council members are on a two-week legislative break. They return July 16.
This story has been updated from the first version published July 9.