Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City's Disaster Management Chief Resigns; He Guided Jacksonville through Hurricane Threats and Super Bowl Security Preparations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City's Disaster Management Chief Resigns; He Guided Jacksonville through Hurricane Threats and Super Bowl Security Preparations

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL ALEXANDER

The man whose emergency management expertise guided Jacksonville through a decade of everything from hurricane near-misses to a flood of 100,000 Super Bowl fans is stepping down.

Chip Patterson, director of Jacksonville's emergency preparedness division, told his staff Tuesday of his decision to join J.B. Coxwell Contracting as the company's director of disaster services. The company's chairman, John Coxwell, was once a strong supporter of Mayor John Peyton but has since become a vocal critic of the mayor's policies.

Patterson declined to state a particular reason for leaving and spoke only of new opportunities.

"Not that many people like emergency management, but it's something that I spent my life doing," he said. "They [J.B. Coxwell] gave me a wonderful opportunity to stay in something I'm very passionate about."

The move, coming in the middle of hurricane season, is a high-profile loss for Peyton's administration, but Patterson won't leave immediately. He said he will keep his job until the city finds a replacement.

"There will likely be some overlap time," mayoral spokeswoman Susie Wiles said.

The announcement is the Emergency Preparedness Division's second setback in less than a week. On July 7, Deputy Director Maggie Bulin, Peyton's former campaign manager, resigned to work for a waste and environmental services company.

Patterson helped get Jacksonville designated an Urban Area Security Initiative, which funds efforts to protect against terrorism. He coordinated emergency planning during Super Bowl XXXIX. During his tenure Jacksonville became the only local jurisdiction in America to receive national accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program. …

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