Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Thoburn Appears Headed for Duval's Planning Job; He Has Received Two City Council Committee Endorsements

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Thoburn Appears Headed for Duval's Planning Job; He Has Received Two City Council Committee Endorsements

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH KORMANIK

Brad Thoburn, Mayor John Peyton's nominee to become Jacksonville's planning director, earned the endorsement of two City Council committees Monday, paving the way for his confirmation next week.

Thoburn's nomination caused an outcry and a letter-writing campaign against him because the city has to waive job requirements for education and experience written into city law for the position. But Thoburn's supporters responded with their own campaign, and he won favorable approval from the Rules and Audit committees by a 4-1 vote each time.

Today, he goes before the Land Use and Zoning Committee, where three of the six members already voted to approve him during Monday's meetings.

Council members didn't debate Thoburn or his qualifications.

"Any discussion? Any questions?" Audit Chairman Richard Clark asked the five committee members. "Seeing none, open the ballot."

Councilwoman Mia Jones voted against Thoburn at the Audit meeting, and Councilwoman Glorious Johnson was the lone dissent at Rules. Both said it wasn't personal, but they didn't want to waive the requirements to hire him.

"Given the opportunity, I believe he will do a good job," Jones said. "But at the end of the day I believe if we as a city say we have rules, regulations and guidelines that we should stick with that."

The planning director administers and interprets the city's comprehensive plan and its zoning code. By law, the director is required to have a master's degree in public administration, urban planning or a related field or 10 years' experience as a manager, with at least five years in an urban planning agency. Even the deputy director's job requires seven years' experience in the field and a bachelor's degree in planning, architecture, civil engineering or economics, or a master's degree and five years of experience. …

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