Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Peyton Making Job Class Changes; A New Bill Will Help Control about 200 Positions

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Peyton Making Job Class Changes; A New Bill Will Help Control about 200 Positions

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL

After months of criticism about the number of Jacksonville city employees classified as assistant management improvement officers or AMIOs, the mayor's office has agreed to some changes.

The title, used for years as a catch-all for mayoral appointed positions not spelled out in the city code, has been cited as an example of cronyism and waste.

This year, Councilwoman Glorious Johnson led the charge for reforms. The city's roughly 200 AMIOs, she said, were being paid too much under a job classification that is too loosely defined.

Mayor John Peyton and his staff don't agree with all the criticism about AMIOs but are ready to update the city code to reduce the number of jobs classified that way.

Sherry Hall, one of the mayor's policy directors, said over the years the city has classified a growing number of employees as AMIOs because there was nothing else to call them.

The city code generally divides workers into two categories: civil service and exempt from civil service. Under those categories, various job classifications are listed.

When the city went to hire mid-management-level positions in a variety of departments - including risk managers, veterinarians and budget analysts - they were clearly not civil service. But in the portion of the code listing the exempt job classifications, there wasn't a good fit for the jobs, either.

So the city dumped them in the AMIO bucket.

In a meeting with city staff last month, Johnson expressed concerns about the growing number of AMIOs, saying they've nearly doubled since she joined the council in 2003.

She also criticized the way the people labeled AMIOs were hired, saying the jobs could be used to show favoritism.

The mayor's office agreed with some of the points Johnson raised and is working with her on a bill that will clean up the issue. …

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