City Council President Aaron Bowman on Tuesday nominated At-Large Group 3 council member Tommy Hazouri to serve as the group’s vice president in 2019-20.
Council members voted 18-0 to support Hazouri, a Democrat, as the next vice president to serve with newly elected President Scott Wilson, a Republican who represents District 4.
The only council member who did not vote was the absent Danny Becton, who represents District 11.
Hazouri, 74, is a former mayor, state legislator and Duval County School Board member who is completing his first term on council.
The next four-year council terms start July 1. The next council year will run through June 30, 2020.
Hazouri supported Republican Mayor Lenny Curry’s successful reelection bid this year.
Hazouri talked about his commitment to working with Curry to push forward with the city’s strategic plan.
“We’re going to build a greater Jacksonville together, not just a policymaking body but also with the administration and the mayor,” Hazouri said.
“Together, we will walk side by side leaving no one behind. Our mission is truly what Mayor Curry has indicated all along: One city, one Jacksonville.”
Hazouri, who was reelected by voters, will serve as vice president for the 2019-20 year. To serve as president in 2020-21, he will need to be nominated and approved by council members.
He currently chairs the council Rules Committee.
In his nomination speech, Bowman said Hazouri likely will be the president in 2020-21.
“I can think of no one better qualified on our incoming council to become vice president and, ultimately, president the following year,” said Bowman, a Republican.
Wilson, 48, unanimously was named president-designate by the incoming council in the special meeting Tuesday at Jacksonville City Hall,
Wilson said boosting tourism, public safety and working with Curry’s office to expedite the removal of blight from Jacksonville neighborhoods will top his agenda.
In an interview after Tuesday’s vote, Wilson, a Republican, said he will work with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office toward establishing a “more robust” mentoring program for Jacksonville youth to reduce at-risk children’s chances of becoming offenders.
“I know it’s not going to have an immediate impact — hopefully we can have immediate impact by working with JSO — but I believe if we can catch these children younger, we can catch them before they get into that life of crime or gang violence.”
Wilson stated support for two high-profile Downtown development projects during his acceptance speech: the demolition and redevelopment of The Jacksonville Landing and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s proposed $500 million mixed-use project to develop TIAA Bank Field’s parking lot J.
Khan’s development company, Iguana Investments LLC, seeks a financial incentives package from the city to guarantee the Lot J development that is slated to include a Live Arena, hotel, residential tower and office building.
The city and Jaguars are in negotiations. Legislation detailing the incentives likely will be introduced to Downtown Investment Authority and council consideration during Wilson’s one-year term as president.
“I have not had any conversations with the Jaguars, the DIA, or the mayor’s office in regards to what, when or how,” he said about the incentives.
He expects incentives legislation to come before the council “very soon.”
Wilson will set the council’s agenda for the next 12 months as well as issue committee assignments to the next council before they are seated July 1.
He will name committee chairs and appoint council liaisons to the public authorities, like DIA and JEA.
Wilson was nominated by District 1 council member Joyce Morgan, a Democrat.
A public installation ceremony for the next council will be 6 p.m. June 27 in the Davis Gallery at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, at 300 W. Water St. in Downtown Jacksonville.